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LiTT.D.,  D.C.L.,  LL.D.,  Ph.D.,  F.B.A. 


'  I  telle  somewhat  more 
Of  Proverbes  than  ye  han  herd  before, 
Comprehended  in  this  litel  tretis  here.' 

Chaucer,  C.  T.,  B  2145-7, 
'  He  would  speak  truth  ; 
And  proverbs,  you  '11  confess,  are  old-said  sooth.' 

Tzuo  An^ry  Women  of  Abington,  A.  i,  Sc.  7. 


19 10  ^  <J   ;^ 

V  1 

A  V 










List  of  Books  Quoted 

Old  English  Homilies 
Layamon's  Brut     .... 

A.NCREN   RlWLE  .... 

The  Owl  and  the  Nightingale 
The  Proverbs  of  Alfred  . 
Cursor  Mundi        .... 
The  Lay  of  Havelok  the  Dane 
King  Alisaunder  .... 
The  Proverbs  of  Rending  . 
Robert  Mannyng,  of  Brunne 
Piers  the  Plowman      .        .      '  . 
The  Bruce  :  by  John  Barbour    . 
Confessio  Amantis:  by  John  Gower 
Geoffrey  Chaucer 
John  Wyclif 


Index  of  Proverbs 














a  2 


If  it  be  true,  according  to  the  proverb,  that  '  good 
wine  needs  no  bush,'  there  is  not  much  necessity  for 
a  lengthy  introduction  to  the  present  collection. 
I  have  simply  endeavoured  to  gather  together  such 
Middle- English  Proverbs  as  happen  to  have  attracted 
my  attention.  I  do  not  pretend  that  the  collection  is 
exhaustive,  but  it  gives  a  fair  idea  of  the  use  of  proverbs 
in  the  thirteenth  and  fourteenth  centuries,  sufficient  to 
show  that  many  of  those  with  which  we  are  still 
familiar  are  met  with  at  a  rather  early  date.  No 
example  has  been  admitted  that  is  later  than  the 
year  1400. 

I  can  find  no  clear  proof  that  the  bulk  of  them,  or 
even  a  large  number  of  them,  were  already  familiar  to 
our  ancestors  in  the  days  before  the  Norman  Conquest. 
Indeed,  most  of  our  Old  English  writings  contain 
nothing  of  the  kind.  On  this  point  the  reader  may 
consult  Kemble's  work  entitled  '  Solomon  and  Saturn,' 
in  which  the  subject  is  considered  ;  at  p.  257,  we  read 
that  'proverbs,  strictly  so  called,  are  very  rare  in 
Saxon  books,  their  authors  being  for  the  most  part 
more  occupied  with  reproducing  in  English  the  wisdom 



of  the  Latins,  than  in  recording  the  deep  but  humorous 
philosophy  of  our  own  people.'  At  pp.  258-269  of 
the  same  work,  Kemble  published  a  short  collection 
of  '  Anglo-Saxon  Apothegms,'  with  a  translation. 
They  are  eighty  in  number,  but  not  one  of  them  has 
a  familiar  ring.^  Of  those  in  the  present  collection, 
I  know  of  only  three  that  are  as  early  as  the  tenth 
century,  viz.  nos.  3,  26,  and  158.  No.  3  occurs  in 
Thorpe's  edition  of  ^Elfric's  Homilies,  ii.  106;  but  it 
is  really  of  Biblical  origin,  being  merely  translated 
from  Ecclus.  iii.  30.  No.  26  occurs  in  an  Anglo- 
Saxon  homily  entitled  Be  Gecyrrednysse  (Concerning 
Conversion)  in  the  form — '  Nu-|?a  sceal  aelc  mon,  |>aet 
he  to  Gode  ge-cyrre  p'a  hwile  ]>e  he  maege,  ]>e  laes,  git 
he  nu  nelle  ]7a  hwile  \&  he  maege,  eft  j^onne  he  late 
wille,  ]?aet  he  ne  maege  ' ;  i.e.  Now  ought  every  man  to 
turn  to  God  while  he  may,  lest,  if  he  will  not  now  (do 
so)  while  he  may,  afterwards,  when  he  at  last  will,  he 
may  not  {Archiv  filr  das  Stitdinni  dei'-  neueren 
Sprachen,  cxxii.  259).  The  explanation  is  easy  ;  for, 
as  Max  Forster  points  out,  the  homily  in  question 
is   little  else  than  a  translation  from  a   sermon   by 

'  Two  proverbs  occur  in  the  A.S.  Chronicles,  under  the  dates  1003 
and  1 130;  but  neither  is  now  in  use.  The  first  is — Donne  se  heretoga 
waca'5  })onne  biO  call  se  here  swide  gehindred;  i.e.  when  the  leader  is 
cowardly,  then  will  all  the  army  be  greatly  hindered.  The  second  is — 
Man  seiff  to  biworde,  hrege  sitteS  J)a  aceres  dseleth  ;  i.  e.  they  say  by 
way  of  proverb,  '  hedge  abides  that  fields  divides.'  This  seems  to  be 
the  only  passage  in  which  the  A.S.  biword,  'a  by-word,'  'a  proverb,' 


St.  Augustine,  and  the  above  proverb  runs,  in  the 
original  Latin,  as  follows : — '  Corrigant  se,  qui  tales 
sunt,  dum  vivunt,  ne  postea  velint  et  non  possint '. 
{Opera^  ed.  Migne,  xxxviii.  1095.) 

The  third  example  (158)  is  more  satisfactory  ;  for  it 
refers  to  the  same  idea  as  that  expressed  in  the  Anglo- 
Saxon  Gnomic  Verses  i.  17  (ed.  Grein)  : — '  efen-fela 
bega,  jjeoda  and  ]7eawa,'  i.  e.  an  equal  number  both  of 
countries  and  customs.  This  is,  in  fact,  one  of  the 
favourite  proverbs  that  are  well  known  in  most  of  the 
European  languages,  as,  for  instance  in  German,  Dutch, 
English,  Danish,  Icelandic,  Swedish,  Norwegian,  Latin, 
French,  Italian,  Portuguese,  and  Spanish,  in  more  than 
sixty  forms. 

It  will  be  seen  that  the  first  three  Proverbs,  as  well 
as  nos.  89,  247,  and  284,  are  taken  from  very  early 
twelfth -century  Homilies  ;  and  this  suggests  that  one 
of  the  ways  in  which  proverbs  wxre  formerly  popu- 
larized was  by  their  use  in  sermons  delivered  in  the 
vernacular.  It  is  also  fairly  evident  that  others  were 
at  the  same  time  in  use  by  Norman  writers,  and  were 
either  of  French  origin,  or  furnished  French  parallels 
to  native  sayings.  The  number  of  proverbs  in  the 
present  collection  which  have  French  originals  or 
equivalents  is  at  least  forty-six^  ;  and  many  of  these 
must  have  been  taken  from  Latin  sources. 

Many  proverbs  have  equivalents  in  other  languages, 

'  For  the  list  see  under  '  Cotgrave '  and  '  French  Proverbs '  in  the 
List  of  Books  Quoted, 

viii  PREFACE 

so  that  it  is  frequently  diflScult  if  not  impossible  to 
trace  them.  But  it  is  clear  that  there  were  two  prin- 
cipal sources  whence  they  were  either  introduced  or 
reinforced.  One  of  these  was  the  Latin  or  \'^ulgate 
version  of  the  Bible  (including  the  Apocrypha),  whilst 
others  were  taken  from  well-known  classical  authors 
or  from  '  fathers  '  of  the  early  church. 

Of  Biblical  proverbs,  there  are  fully  fifty, ^  of  which 
seventeen  are  from  the  Proverbs  of  Solomon  (so  called), 
and  thirteen  from  the  apocryphal  book  of  Ecclesiasticus, 
which  in  the  Middle  Ages  was  far  better  known  than 
it  is  at  present.  It  must  certainly  sometimes  happen 
that  similar  expressions  occur  in  different  authors 
independently.  Thus  no,  24  may  have  been  suggested 
by  Gut  fa  cavai  lapidein  in  Ovid  ;  but  it  may  equally 
well  be  derived  from  Lapides  excavaiit  aqiiae^  the 
Vulgate  version  of  Job  xiv.  19.  The  latter  must  be 
one  of  the  earliest  proverbs  known. 

Such  as  are  possibly  due  to  classical  sources  are 
mostly  from  the  famous  poets,  Ovid,  Horace,  Virgil, 
Terence,  Plautus,  Claudian,  Juvenal,  Lucan,  and 
Propertius  may  account  for  about  thirt)^-seven  ;  and 
others  may  be  found  in  Cicero,  St.  Augustine,  St. 
Jerome,  and  Pope  Innocent  III.  Three  are  from  the 
Disticha  Moralia  of  Dionysius  Cato,  an  obscure 
writer  of  uncertain  date,  and  two  are  from  the  Sentcn- 
tiae  of  Publilius  (otherwise  Publius)  Syrus,     At  least 

'  See  under  '  Bible'  in  the  List  of  Books  Quoted. 


three  (nos.  135,  212,  and  283)  are  ultimately  Greek; 
and  one  (no.  257)  is  almost  certainly  Old  Norse,  as  it 
seems  to  be  peculiar  to  Icelandic. 

A  few  may  fairly  be  ascribed  to  the  Latin  of  the 
Middle  Ages,  but  we  must  in  this  case  make  a  careful 
distinction.  For  some  of  these  medieval  Latin  proverbs 
are  nothing  but  vernacular  proverbs  translated  into 
Latin.  Their  very  form  sometimes  reveals  this ;  as 
when,  for  instance,  no.  71  appears  as  a  hexameter 
in  the  form — 

Luscus  praefertur  caeco  ;    sn   tmdique  fertur. 

Here  the  last  three  words  are  added  as  a  mere  tag,  to 
make  up  the  line.     Or  ag^in — 

Ut  dicunt  inul/i\  cito  transit  lancea  stulti  (139). 

These  monkish  lines  can  usually  be  detected  by  their 
artificial  attempt  at  internal  rime,  as  in  these  two 

Similar  in  character  are — 

Scintillae  propriae  sunt  mihi  deliciae  (75). 

Me  vult  vitalem  qui  dat  mihi  rem  modicalem  (80). 

De  cute  non  propria  maxima  corrigia  (86). 

Pomum  compunctum  cito  corrumpit  sibi  iunctum  (239). 

Fallere,  flere,  nere  dedit  Deus  in  muliere  (267). 

Nevertheless,  nos.  206  and  260  may  be  credited  to  the 
Libey  Parabolarwu  of  Alanus  de  Insulis,  or  Alain  de 
Lille,  a  French  author  of  the  twelfth  century. 

It  will  be  seen  that  our  Proverbs  have  been  selected 


from  the  following  books,  which  seemed  to  present 
themselves  as  being  most  likely  to  furnish  examples, 
viz. :  The  Old  English  Homihes,  edited  for  the  Early 
English  Text  Society  by  Dr.  Morris ;  Layamon's 
Brut,  a  translation  of  a  poem  by  Wace ;  the  Ancren 
Riwle ;  the  Owl  and  Nightingale  ;  the  Proverbs  of 
Alfred ;  the  Cursor  Mundi ;  Havelok  ;  King  Ali- 
saunder;  the  Proverbs  of  Hending;  Robert  Mannyng's 
Handlyng  Synne  ;  Langland's  Piers  the  Plowman  ; 
Barbour's  Bruce ;  Gower's  Confessio  Amantis ;  and 
the  works  of  Chaucer  and  Wyclif  All  quotations  of 
a  later  date  than  1400,  the  date  of  Chaucer's  death,  are 
given  solely  by  way  of  illustration.  The  Old  English 
Homilies  go  back  to  the  twelfth  century ;  with  this 
exception,  every  example  belongs  either  to  the 
thirteenth  or  to  the  fourteenth  century. 

I  have  examined  many  other  works,  nearly  all  ot 
them  poems,  belonging  to  the  same  centuries,  without 
succeeding  in  finding  even  a  solitary  example  of 
a  proverbial  character.  But  my  search  has  been  hasty, 
and  I  may  have  missed  some  here  and  there  ;  I  doubt, 
however,  whether  I  have  missed  many.  I  cannot  even 
be  quite  sure  that  I  have  included  all  the  examples 
that  occur  in  the  books  which  I  have  enumerated 
above.  I  find,  for  example,  ten  Proverbs  in  the  Citrsor 
Minidi\  but,  as  that  poem  extends  to  more  than 
20,000  lines,  it  is  quite  possible  that  it  may  contain 
a  dozen.  It  is  curious  that  the  editor  (at  p.  xx)  gives 
ov\yfo7ir  examples,  viz.  nos.  44,  45,  141,  and  226. 


The  general  arrangement  is  in  a  chronological  order  ; 
but  this  has  not  been  altogether  adhered  to.  Thus, 
under  the  heading  '  Cursor  Mundi,'  I  give,  at  pp.  20,  2 1 , 
only  four  of  the  ten  Proverbs  found  there.  Of  the  rest, 
one  of  them  is  used  to  illustrate  no.  123  (in  Piers 
Plowman),  2^^^  the  remaining  five  to  illustrate  Chaucer 
(nos.  141,  226^  244,  246,  286),  This  is  a  much  more 
interesting  mode  of  arrangement,  as  the  alternative 
was  to  use  Chaucer's  proverbs  to  illustrate  those  in 
the  CtiJ^sor  Mznidi.  It  seemed  desirable  to  give  all 
the  Chaucerian  examples  together,  inasmuch  as  they 
considerably  exceed  in  number  all  the  rest.  They  are 
especially  numerous  in  Troihis  and  Cressida,  which 
contains  nearly  70,  of  which  at  least  25  are  given  to 
Pandarus,  who  is  much  given  to  offering  sententious 
advice.  It  is  somewhat  surprising  to  find  that  at 
least  a  dozen  are  put  into  the  mouth  of  Cressida, 
who  has  excellent  verbal  devices  for  concealing  her 

i  It  is  not  always  easy  to  know  what  constitutes 
a  proverb.  Some  sententious  phrases  are  merely 
quotations,  and  not  generally  known.  Thus, in  TroilnSy 
i.  960,  we  find  : —  '"'" 

But  he  that  parted  is  in  every  place 

Is  no-wher  hool  \whole\  as  writen  clerkes  wise. 

This  is  evidently  quoted  from  some  authority,  but 
I  find  it  nowhere  else  ;  nor  do  I  know  its  origin. 
I  have  chiefly  been  guided  in  this  matter  by  the  occur- 


rence  of  similar  quotations  in  other  authors.  It  is  for 
this  reason,  chiefly,  that  I  have  given  so  many  illus- 
trative quotations ;  indeed,  it  is  often  extremely 
interesting  to  find  how  familiar  some  of  these  wise 
saws  are  even  at  the  present  day.  At  least  1 1  of 
them  occur  in  Sir  Walter  Scott's  novels,  while 
Shakespeare  has  no  less  than  55,  the  Shakespeare 
Apocrypha  has  at  least  15,  and  64  appear  in  other 
dramatists,  as  Beaumont  and  Fletcher,  Chapman, 
Greene,  Marlowe,  Massinger,  Peele,  and  Webster.  And 
of  course  all  these  numbers  are  very  much  understated. 
I  only  note  such  as  I  have  observed  after  but  slight 
search ;  it  would  be  easy  to  add  to  the  number.  It 
may  interest  the  intelligent  reader  to  do  this  for 

I  subjoin  a  List  of  Authors  Quoted,  and  give,  in 
every  case,  a  list  (indicated  by  their  numbers)  of  the 
Proverbs  which  they  illustrate.  It  is  often  very  in- 
teresting to  observe  the  sayings  with  which  different 
authors  were  most  familiar. 

I  also  add,  at  the  end,  a  sufficient  Index  of  the 
Proverbs  themselves,  briefly  expressed.  Each  is 
indexed  under  its  leading  word,  or  (in  some  cases) 
under  two  leading  words,  with  cross-references. 

The  modern  forms  of  the  Proverbs  are  mostly  given 
as  in  Hazlitt's  large  collection.  Of  older  collections, 
the  one  most  worthy  of  mention  is  that  by  John 
Hey  wood,  which  first  appeared  in  1546,  of  which 
there  are  modern  reprints,  by  J.  Sharman  in    1874, 



and  by  J.  S.  Farmer  in  1906.  The  most  interesting 
collection  is  that  by  John  Ray,  which  first  appeared  in 
1670,  and  went  through  several  editions  ;  the  fourth 
edition,  that  of  1768,  being  much  augmented.  Ray 
frequently  gives  an  equivalent  Proverb  in  French, 
Italian,  or  Spanish,  which  is  of  course  very  helpful. 
It  would  have  been  easy  to  crowd  the  present  small 
volume  with  equivalent  Proverbs  in  many  languages  ,' 
but  this  work  has  been  already  done  so  efficiently  that 
I  have  contented  myself  by  a  mere  reference  to  '  D.', 
by  which  I  mean  the  Sprichworter  collected  by  Ida 
von  Diiringsfeld  and  Otto  Freiherrn  von  Reinsberg- 
Diiringsfeld,  printed  at  Leipzig  in  18 72, in  two  volumes, 
(See  D.  in  the  Book-list.)  Vol.  i  contains  960  Proverbs, 
numbered  from  i  to  960 ;  and  vol.  2  contains  "j^^^ 
numbered  from  i  to  765.  Thus,  at  p.  19,  under  no,  41, 
I  refer  to  D.  i.  879,  i.  e.  the  879th  Proverb  in  the  first 
volume.  The  fullness  of  information  thus  afforded  is 
amazing;  we  find  there  10  equivalent  sayings  in 
German,  beginning  with  '  Katzenkinder  mausen  gern  ' ; 
8  in  Dutch,  beginning  with  '  Kattenkinderen  vangen 
graag  muizen';  i  in  English,  viz.,  '  That  that  comes 
of  a  cat,  will  catch  mice ' ;  3  in  Danish,  beginning 
with  '  Hvad  det  er  af  Katteslaegt,  muser  gjerne  ' ;  i  in 
Icelandic;  i  in  Norwegian:  2  in  Swedish;  5  in 
medieval  Latin,  beginning  with  '  Catorum  nati  sunt 
mures  prendere  nati ' ;  i  in  Romaunsch  ;  6  in  French 
(4  of  which  are  dialectal),  beginning  with  '  Qui  naquit 
chat,  court  apres  les  souris  ' ;   1 1  in  Italian  (9  dialectal), 


beginning  with  '  Chi  di  gatta  nacque,  topi  piglia  ' ; 
I  in  Portuguese — '  O  filho  de  asno  huma  hora  no  dia 
orneja ' ;  5  in  Spanish — '  El  hijo  de  la  gata  ratones 
mata,'  &c.  ;  and  i  in  Wallachian.  Each  of  these  is 
accompanied  by  a  German  translation ;  and  they  are 
all  indexed.     Moreover,  there  are  Supplements. 

The  frontispiece  is  reproduced,  by  permission,  from 
the  portrait  of  Wyclif  at  Balliol  College. 

I  confess  that  the  present  unpretentious  volume  was 

written    for   my   own   information    and    amusement. 

I  hope  it  may  interest  others. 


Oct.  13,  1909. 


The  Early  English  Text  Society  is  denoted  by  E.  E.  T.  S. ; 
and  the  English  Dialect  Society  by  E.  D.  S.  The  numbers 
appended  to  each  title  refer  to  the  numbers  of  the  Proverbs. 

Alfred ;  see  Proverbs. 

Alliterative    Poems,    Early    English;    ed.    R,    Morris,    1864. 

(E.E.  T.  S.)     227,288. 
Ancren  Riwle  ;   ed.  J.  Morton.     Camden  Soc,  London,  1853. 

16-27 ;  70,  151,  283,  287,  292.    And  see  note  to  21. 
Andrewes,  Bp.  L. ;  Sermons  (163 1).     187. 
Arden  of  Fevershame  ;    in  the  Shakespeare  Apocrypha,  q.v. 

249,  293. 
Augustin,  St. ;  see  note  to  231. 
Ayenbite  of  Inwyt ;  ed.  R.  Morris,  1866.    (E.  E.  T.  S.)   95,  106, 

147,  239,  258,  286. 

Bacon,  Lord  :  Essays;  ed.  W.  A.  Wright.    London,  1871.    155, 

Barbour's  Bruce  ;  ed.  W.  W.  Skeat,  1870-89.    (E.  E.  T.  S.)    62, 

67  ;  127-129  ;  148,  176. 
Barclay,  Alexander:   The  Ship  of  Fools ;  ed.  T.  H.  Jamieson. 

Edinburgh  and  London,  1874.     115. 
Barham,  Rev.  R.  H.  ;  Ingoldsby  Legends.     176. 
Beaumont  and  Fletcher,  Works  of;   ed.  G.  Darley.     London, 

1859.     2  vols.     155,  159,  220,  224,  278,  289,  299.    And  see 

notes  to  21,  117,  119,  152,  155,  196,  206,  215,  229,  262,  266. 
Beket,   Life  of;    ed.  W.   H.   Black.     London,    1845.     (Percy 

Soc.)     245, 
Beryn,  The  Tale  of;  ed.  F.  J.  Furnivall,  1876.     (Chaucer  Soc.) 

67,  69,  83,  96,  153,  154,  225,  246,  286. 


Bible ;  The  Authorized  Version.  Leviticus,  lo ;  Job,  24  ; 
Psalms,  II,  31,  59,  237  ;  Proverbs,  13,  14,  17,  33,  38,  42,  57, 
65,  66,  79,  113,  193,  243,  244,  245,  250,  254;  Ecclesiastes, 
151,  222 ;  Ecclesiasticus,  3,  9,  42,  46,  62,  64,  73,  79,  97,  243, 
254,  271,  294  ;  Tobit,  62  ;  3  Esdras  (Vulgate),  96  ;  Matthew, 
15,106,118;  John,  30;  Acts,  143;  Romans,  7;  I  Corinthians, 
31  ;  Galatians,  236  ;  I  Thessalonians,  63  ;  i  Timothy,  299. 
And  see  notes  to  20,  24,  26,  39,  62. 

Burton,  R. :  The  Anatomy  of  Melancholy  ;  13th  ed.  London, 
1827.     2  vols.     151,218,229. 

Butler,  S.:  Hudibras ;  ed.  A.  Milnes.  London,  1881-3.  2  vols. 
72,  190,  289.    And  see  notes  to  117,  169,  189. 

Camden,  W.:  Remaines  concerning  Britain;  ed.  1657.    279,  292. 

Cato,  Dionysius  ;  Disticha  Moralia.     174,197,237. 

Caxton,  W. :  Recuyell  of  the  Hystoryes  of  Troye  ;  reprint  by 

H.  O.  Sommer.     London,  1894.     2  vols.     161. 
Reynard  the  Fox;   reprint  by  E.  Arber.     London,  1878. 

Chapman,  G.,  The  Plays  of;   ed.  R.  H.  Shepherd.     London, 

1874.     114.    And  see  notes  to  60,  123,  155,  158,  161,  176, 

186,  233. 
Chaucer,  Geoffrey,  Works  of;  ed.  W.  W.  Skeat.     Oxford,  1894. 

6  vols.     5,  10,  20,  25,  37,  44,  48,  52,  58,  59,  64,  104,  135-295, 

297,  301.     Vol.  7  contains  Chaucerian  and  other  Pieces. 
Chevelere  Assigne;  ed.  H.  H.  Gibbs.    1868.    (E.  E.  T.  S.)    47. 
Cicero.     230  ;  and  note  to  127. 
Claudian.     242. 
Cotgrave,  Randle  :  A  French  and  English  Dictionary ;  London, 

1660.    (A  late  edition.)    1,  22,  45,  56,  60,  86,  89,  93,  100,  103, 

109,  114,  117,  137,  141,  146,  149,  150,  153,  157,  158,  162,  164, 

196,  201,  207,  216,  252,  261,  266,  273,  274,  279,  280,  286,  296. 

And  see  French  Proverbs. 
Court  of  Love,  The ;  printed  in  Chaucerian  and  other  Pieces, 

q.  V.     175. 


Cowley,  A.,  Poems  of.     258. 

Crowley,  R.:  Select  Works ;  ed.  J.  M.Cowper.  I   872.  (E.E.T.S.) 

Cursor  Mundi ;  ed.  R.  Morris.     (E.E.T.S.)    44-7;   123,  141, 

226,  244,  246,  286. 

D.  —  Sprichworter  der  germanischen  und  romanischen 
Sprachen,  vergleichend  zusammengestellt  von  Ida  von  Dii- 
ringsfeld  und  Otto  Freiherrn  von  Reinsberg- Diiringsfeld. 
Leipzig,  1872.     2  vols.     (Often.) 

Debate  of  the  Body  and  Soul ;  in  the  Poems  of  Walter  Map, 
ed.  T.  Wright.     Camden  Soc,  London,  1841.     166. 

Douglas,  G.,  Works  of ;  ed.  J.  Small.  Edinburgh,  1874.  4  vols. 

Earle,  John  ;  Micro  Cosmographie.    1628.    Reprint  by  E.  Arber, 

1869.     22. 
Eden,  R. :  The  first  three  English  Books  on  America ;  ed.  Arber, 

1885.     181. 
Everyman  (old  play).     241. 

French  Proverbs.     67,  74,  79,  80,  93,  127,  206,  219,  275,  285. 

Many  more  occur  in  Cotgrave,  q.  v. 
Froissart's  Chronicles.     228,  273. 
Fuller,  T. ;  The  Holy  and  Profane  State.     London,  1841.     129. 

Gamelyn,  The  Tale  of;  ed.  W.  W.  Skeat.     Oxford,  1884.     83. 
Gascoigne,  G.,  The  Complete  Poems  of;   ed.  W.  C.  Hazlitt. 

London,  1869.     2  vols.     See  notes  to  130,  269. 
German  Proverbs.    78,261,284,285.    And  see  refs.  marked  '  D '. 
Gosson,  S. ;  The  Schoole  of  Abuse  (1579).    Reprint  by  E.  Arber, 

1868.     130. 
Gower,  John,  English  Works  of;  ed.  G.  C.  Macaulay.     Oxford, 

1901.     3  vols.     34,  56,  66,  123;  130-4;  155,  189,  197,  205, 

209,  226,  227,  237,  288.     See  notes  to  67,  79. 

SKEAT.     E.  E.  P.  C) 

xviii  IJST   OF   BOOKS   QUOTED 

Greene,  R.,  Plays  and  Poems  of;  ed.  J,  Churton  Collins. 
Oxford,  1905.  2  vols.  24,  26,  39,  43,  103,  119,  161,  179,  213, 
233,  234- 

Hampole,  R.  Rolle  de:  The  Pricke  of  Conscience ;  ed.  R.  Morris. 

London,  1863.     (Phil.  Soc.)     292. 
Hardyng,  John  :  Chronicle  ;  ed.  H.  Ellis.     London,  1812.     56. 
Havelok  the  Dane,  The  Lay  of ;   ed.  W.  W.  Skeat.     Oxford, 

1902.    48-57  ;  148,  179- 
Hazlitt,  W.  C;   Early  Popular  Poetry  of  England.     London, 

1864.     See  under  various  headings,  and  see  notes  to  40,  132, 

290.    Also  130. 
English  Proverbs  and  Proverbial  Phrases.     London,  1869. 

4,  5,  6,  &c. 
Hending,  The  Proverbs  of;    in  Altenglische  Dichtungen  des 

MS.    Harl.     2253,    ed.    K.    Boddeker.     Berlin,    1878.     46; 

67-95;  139,  I55>  158,  226,  245,  286. 
Henryson,  R. :  Robene  and  Makyne  ;  in  Specimens  of  Middle 

Scots  ;   ed.   G.   Gregory  Smith.     Edinburgh  and    London, 

1902.    26. 
Herbert,  G. :  Works  ;  ed.  1859.    236,  280. 
Heywood's  Proverbs,  &c.,  1562.     (Cited  by  Hazlitt.)     I,  25,  29, 

63,  85,  100,  104,  119,  131,  133,  140,  157,  198,  213,  238,  269, 

Higden,  R.  ;  Polychronicon.    (Record  Publications.)     265. 
Hislop,  A. ;  The  Proverbs  of  Scotland.     Third  edition.     Edin- 
burgh, n.  d.     6,  13,  22,  26-7,  29,  34,  40,  45,  50,  60,  64,  67,  71, 

74-S>  lly  82,  84,  86-7,  89,  92,  98,  loo-i,  113,  123,  132,  148-9, 

155,  160-1,  165,  167-9,  175-6,  178,  196-7,  206,  208,  223,  226, 

234-6,  242,  248-9,  254,  261-2,  270,  275,  2S2,  288,  292,  295. 
Hoccleve,  T. :   De  Regimine  Principum ;   ed.  F.  J.  Furnivall. 

1897.    (E.  E.  T.  S. ;  extra  series.)     205,  228,  241,  289. 

Letter  of  Cupid  ;  in  Chaucerian  and  other  Pieces,  q.  v.    28. 

Holland,  P.;  translation  of  Pliny's  Natural  History.     London, 

1634.     2  vols.     35,117. 


Horace.     21,  23,  69,   127,   167,  244,  258,  283,  291.     And  see 

notes  to  67,  240. 
How  the  Good  Wife  Taught  her  Daughter ;  in  Hazlitt's  Early 

Popular  Poetry,  q.  v.     42,  50,  53,  85. 

Icelandic  Proverb.     257. 

Innocent  III,  Pope  (1161-1216);  De  Contemptu  Mundi.     62, 

Italian  Proverbs.     41,  127,  155,  163,  194,  220. 

Jerome,  St.    199,  277,  285. 

Jonson,  Ben  ;  Every  Man  in  his  Humour.     See  note  to  123. 

Joseph  of  Arimathie;   ed.  W.  W.  Skeat.     1871.     (E.  E.  T.  S.) 

Juvenal.     See  note  to  39. 

Kemble.     See  Salomon. 

King  Alisaunder ;    in  vol.  i.  of  Weber's   Metrical   Romances. 

Edinburgh,  1 810.     3  vols.     58-66  ;   155,  263. 
King  Edward  III  (a  play) ;  see  Shakespeare  Apocrypha.     145, 

288,  292. 

Latin  Proverbs  and  verses  (chiefly  medieval).   69,  71,  75,  T],  79, 

80,  86,  101,  103,  109,  139,  161,  176,  195,  206,  209,  210,  213, 

216,   221,  226,  235,   239,  242,   248,    249,    260,    263,   265-7, 

270,  277,  283-4. 
Layamon's  Brut ;    ed.   Sir  F.    Madden.     Soc.  of  Antiquaries, 

London,  1847.     3  vols.     4-15. 
Locrine  (a  play)  ;  see  Shakespeare  Apocrypha.     126,  155,  189. 

And  see  notes  to  2,  24,  43,  60. 
London  Prodigal],  The;   in  the  Shakespeare  Apocrypha,  q.v. 

Longfellow.     58,  135. 
Lucan.     179. 
Lydgate,  John  :  The  Assembly  of  Gods  ;  ed.  O.  L.  Triggs^  1896. 



Lydgate,  John  :  Minor  Poems  ;  ed.  J.  O.  Halliwell.     Percy  Soc, 

London,  1840.     25,  235. 
Poems  printed  in  Chaucerian  and  other  Pieces  ;  ed  W.  W. 

Skeat.     Oxford,  1897.     255,  267. 
Secrees  of  Philosoffres  ;  ed.  R.  Steele,  1895.     (E.  E.  T.  S.) 

The  Storie  of  Thebes  ;  printed  with  Chaucer's  Poems  ;  ed. 

Stowe.     London,  165 1.     Folio.     204. 
The  Temple  of  Glas  ;  ed.  J.  Schick,  1891.     (E.  E.  T.  S.) 


The  Troyboke.     London,  1555.     274,  288. 

Lyly,  John  ;  Alexander  and  Campaspe  (a  play),  15S4.     250. 
Euphues  (1581-2) :  ed.  E.  Arber,  186S.     2,  24,  114,  117, 

120,  124,  152,  179,  183,  188,  196,  233,  297. 

Malcontent,    The    (a    play    by    Marston    and    Webster;    see 

Webster).     189,  218. 
Malory,  Sir  T. ;  Morte  Darthur.     Reprint  of  Caxton's  edition ; 

ed.  H.  O.  Summer.     London,  1889-91.     3  vols.     116. 
Man  in  the  Moon,  The  ;  in  Altenglische  Dichtungen,  q.  v.    214. 
Mannyng ;  see  Robert. 
Marlowe,    C,    The   Works  of;    ed.    Lt.-Col.    F.    Cunningham. 

London,  1870.     152,  197,  215,  246,  282,  287. 
Massinger,   P.,   The   Plays   of;    ed.   Lt.-Col.  F.  Cunningham. 

London,  1868.    6.     And  see  notes  to  119,  170,  182. 
Montgomerie,  A.,  The  Poems  of;  ed.  J.  Cranstoun.    Edinburgh 

and  London,  1886-7.     (Scottish  Text  Soc.)     189. 
Mucedorus;  in  Shakespeare  Apocrypha,  q.  v.     161. 

Old    English    Homilies ;     ed.    R.    Morris.      Series    L,    1867. 

(E.  E.  T.  S.)     1-3  ;   89,  247,  284. 
Old  English  Miscellany;   ed.  R.  Morris,  1872.     (E.  E.  T.  S.) 

95,  125- 
Oldcastle,  Life  of  Sir  John.    262.    See  Shakespeare  Apocrypha. 
Otvvay,  T.,  Plays  of.     179. 


Ovid.     7,  24,  137,  162,  185,  186,  197,  200,  220,  240,  243,  255, 

258,  267. 
Owl  and  Nightingale  ;   ed.  T.  Wright.     Percy  Soc,  London, 

1843.     28-35  ;  36,  72,  81,  83,  131,  136,  195,  231,  283,  290. 

Parlament  of  Byrdes  ;  see  Hazlitt's  Early  Popular  Poetry.    85. 
Peele,  G.,  Dramatic  and  Poetical  Works  of ;  ed.  Rev.  A.  Dyce. 

London,   1883.      (Together  with  the  Works  of  R.  Greene.) 

39,  126,  197,  223,  247. 
Pierce   the  Ploughman's  Crede  ;   ed.  W.  W.  Skeat.     Oxford, 

1906.     209. 
Piers  of  Fulham  ;  in  Hazlitt's  Early  Popular  Poetry,  q.  v.     39. 
Piers    Plowman ;    ed.    W,   W.    Skeat,     In   three  texts.  A,   B, 

and  C.     (E.  E.T.  S.)     Also  at  Oxford,  1886;   2  vols.     25; 

103-123  ;  151,  154,  166,  i£o,  181,  197,  211,  223,  227,  231,  237, 

245,  249,  260,  276. 
Plautus.     176,  261. 
Pliny ;  see  Holland. 

Political  Poems  and  Songs  ;  ed.  T.  Wright.     (Record  Publica- 
tions.)    1859-61.     2  vols.     III. 
Political  Songs;  ed.  T.  Wright.     1839.     (Camden  Soc.)     123. 
Propertius.     See  note  to  226. 
Proverbs  of  Alfred ;  ed.  W.  W.  Skeat.     Oxford,  1907.     9,  15; 

36-43;  69,  73,  78,  79>  83,  92,  94,  95,  139,  195,  226,  257,  284, 

293.     And  see  notes  to  6,  20. 
Publilius  Syrus.     210,  248. 
Puritain  Widowe.     273.     See  Shakespeare  Apocrypha. 

Queene  Elizabethes  Achademy ;  ed.  F.  J.  Fumivall.  1869. 
(E.  E.  T.  S.  ;  extra  series.)     103. 

Ray,  John  ;  A  Compleat  Collection  of  English  Proverbs.  Fourth 
edition.  London,  1768.  4,  36,  41,  47,  75,  88,  91,  115,  127, 
194,  209,  221,  236,  285. 

Reinke  de  Vos  (Reynard  the  Fox) ;  ed.  K.  Schroder.  Leipzig, 
1872.     30. 


Reliquiae  Antiquae  ;  ed,  Wright  and  Halliwell.    London,  1841-3. 

2  vols.     67,  112,  121,  209,  271. 
Richard  Coer  dc  Lion ;  in  Weber's  Metrical  Romances.    London, 

1 810.     3  vols.     269. 
Richard  the  Redeless  ;   printed  at  the  end  of  Piers  Plowman, 

q.v.     25,  121  ;  124-6;  177. 
Robert  Mannyng  of  Brunne,  Handlyng  Synne ;  ed.  F.  J.  Furni- 

vall.      1901.      (E.E.  T.S.)     3,  25,  26,  31,  42,  93;   96-102; 

159,  176,  262,  292,  294,  295. 
Robinson,  R. :  tr.  of  More's  Utopia;  repr.  by  E.  Arber,  1869. 

Roman  de  ia  Rose;  ed.  Meon.     Paris,  1S13.     4  vols.    136,  1S5, 

199,  212,  220,  270. 
Romaunt  o.f  the  Rose;  in  Chaucer's  Works,  vol.  i.     61,    139, 

180,  237,  240,  286. 
Ros,  Sir  R.  :   La  Belle  Dame  sans  Merci ;  in  Chaucerian  and 

other  Pieces,  q.  v.     236. 

Salomon  and  Saturn  ;  ed.  J.  M.  Kemblc.  London,  1848. 
(/Elfric  Society.)     41,  -]"],  206. 

Scott,  Sir  W.  ;  The  Waverley  Novels,  i,  27,  28,  82,  130,  150, 
213,  238.    And  see  notes  to  62,  158,  282. 

Shakespeare  Apocrypha,  The  ;  ed.  C.  F.  Tucker  Brooke. 
Oxford,  1908.  (Contains  Arden  of  Feversham,  Locrine,  King 
Edw.  1 1 1,  Mucedorus,  Sir  John  Oldcastle,  The  London  Prodigall, 
and  eight  other  plays.) 

Shakespeare,  W.,  Works  of.  The  Globe  edition.  London, 
1864.  20,  24,  60,  82,  92,  105,  112,  114,  120,  137,  139,  142, 
144, 145,  147^0,  162,  164,  167,  169,  170,  178,  18324,  186,  188, 
190,  192,  199-201,  206^  209,  213,  217,  218,  221,  222,  229,  238, 
246,  251,  260,  278,  280-2,  284,  289,  294,  295,  297. 

Sir  Eglamour  ;  in  the  Thornton  Romances,  ed.  J,  O.  Halliwell. 
London,  1844.     (Camden  Soc.)     217. 

Sir  John  Oldcastle  ;  in  the  Shakespeare  Apocrypha,  q.  v.     261. 

Skelton,   J.:    Poetical    Works:    ed.    A.   Dycc.     London,    1843. 

LIST   OF   BOOKS   QUOTED  xxiii 

2  vols.     25,  28,  39,  114,  214,  231,  246,  276,  289,  300.    And  see 

notes  to  79,  240. 
Spanish  Proverbs  (from  Ray,  &c.).     161,  166,  242,  277, 
Spenser,  E.,  Works  of;  ed.  R.  Morris  and  J.  W.  Hales.    London, 

1869.     22,  24,  100,  137,  154,  182,  194,  220, 

Taylor,  Bp.  Jeremy,  The  Works  of.     London.     117. 

Tennyson.     137. 

Terence.     189,  279,  283. 

Towneley  Plays  (or  Mysteries)  ;   ed.  G.  England  and  A.  W. 

Pollard.     1897.     (E.  E.  T.  S.  ;    extra   series.)     88,    173,    190. 

And  see  note  to  91. 
Tristrem,  Sir ;  ed.  G.  P.  McNeill.     Edinburgh   and   London, 

1885-6.     53. 
Tusser,  T. ;  Five  Hundred  Pointes  of  good  Husbandrie.  (E.  D.  S.) 

1878.    See  notes  to  103,  127,  176,  190. 
Two  Angry  Women  of  Abington  (old  play).     290.      And   see 

notes  to  155,  176,  196,  221. 

Udall,  N. :  Royster  Doyster;  reprint  by  E.  Arber,  1869.     187, 

translation  of  the  Apothegmes  of  Erasmus.    Boston,  1877. 

Usk,  T. :  Testament  of  Love  ;  printed  in  Chaucerian  and  other 
Pieces,  q.v.    83,  126,  132,  148,  154,  155,  158,  164,  171,  172, 
182,  184,  204,  206,  207,  290.    And  see' notes  to  148,  187. 

Vincent  of  Beauvais.     256. 

Virgil.     35,  189,  197.     And  note  to  240. 

Wace  ;  Roman  de  Brut.     56. 

Walker,  Dr. ;  Paraemiologia,  1672.    (Cited  by  Hazlitt.)    23,112. 

Warner,   W.,   Albion's   England,    1586.      Repr.   in   Chalmers, 

English  Poets.     302, 
Webster,  John,  The  Works  of;   ed.  Rev.  A.  Dyce.     London, 

xxiv  LIST    OF   BOOKS    QUOTED 

1857.     43,  102,  169,  197,  235,  246,  259,  282,  289.     And  see 

Wiat,  Sir  T.,  Poems  of;  in  Tottel's  Miscellany  (1557).    Reprint 

by  E.  Arber,  1870.     103,  136. 
William  of  Palerne ;    ed.  W.  W.  Skeat,  1867.     (E.  E.  T.  S. ; 

extra  series.)     105. 
Wyclif,].:  Select  Prose  Works;  ed.  T.  Arnold.  Oxford,  1869-71. 

3  vols.     143,  296-8,  300-1.     And  see  note  to  79. 
Prose  Works,  hitherto  unprinted  ;    ed.   F.   D.   Matthew. 

(E.  E.  T.  S.)    1880.   294,  299-302.    And  see  notes  to  118,  173, 

204,  211. 
Wyclififite  Versions  of  the  Bible  ;  ed.  Rev.  J.  Forshall  and  Sir  F. 

Madden.     Oxford,  1850.     143. 

York  Mystery  Plays  ;  ed.  Lucy  T.  Smith.     Oxford,  1885.     276. 


There  are  two  Series  of  these,  edited  by  Dr.  Morris 
(E.  E.  T.  S.).  Those  in  the  First  Series  may  (for  the  most 
part)  be  dated  about  A.  D.  1175,  and  those  in  the  Second  Series 
about  1200.  I  have  noted  in  these  the  occurrence  of  the  follow- 
ing Proverbs,  or  sayings  that  may  have  been  proverbial,  in 
addition  to  three  that  are  quoted  (further  on)  in  illustration  of 
Hending  and  Chaucer  ;  see  nos.  89,  247,  284. 


Hwa  is  thet  mei  thet  hors  wettrien  the  him-self  nule 
drinken  ?  (Who  is  he  that  may  water  the  horse  and 
not  drink  himself?) — Old  Eng.  Homilies,  ed.  Morris, 
Ser.  I,  p.  9. 

A  man  male  well  bring  a  horse  to  the  water,  but  he  cannot 
make  him  drinke  without  he  will.— Heywood  (1562) ;  pt.  i.  c.  11. 

On  ne  fait  boire  ct  Pasne  quatid  il  ne  vent. — Cotgrave,  s.  v. 

Ae  man  may  bring  a  horse  to  the  water,  but  twenty  wunna 
gar  him  drink. — Scott,  Heart  of  Midlothian,  ch.  26.     D.  ii.  761. 


A  lutel  ater  bitteret  muchel  swete.  (A  little  venom 
embitters  much  sweetness.) — Old  Eng.  Homilies.,  ed. 
Morris,  Ser.  i,  p.  23. 

One  droppe  of  poyson  infecteth  the  whole  tunne  of  wine. — 
Lyly,  Eiiphues,  p.  39. 

SKEAT.       E.    K.    P. 



Al  swa  thet  water  acwencheth  thet  fur,  swa  tha 
elmesse  acwencheth  tha  sunne.  (As  water  quenches 
fire,  so  almsgiving  quenches  sin.)—  Old  Eng.  Homilies^ 
ed.  Morris,  Ser.  t,  pp.  37,  39. 

Almes  fordoth  alle  wykkednes 

And  quenchyth  synne  and  makyth  hyt  les. 

Rob.  of  Brunne,  Handlyng  Synne,  7079. 
From  Ecclus.  iii.  30  ;   whence  it  is  also  quoted  in  ^Ifric's 
Homilies,  ed.  Thorpe,  ii.  106. 


Of  the  poem  called  The  Brui,  written  by  Layamon,  there  are 
two  texts.  The  earlier  has  been  approximately  dated  about 
1205,  and  the  later  about  1275.  I  note  the  following  examples 
in  the  edition  by  Sir  F.  Madden. 


Nis  nawer  nan  so  wis  mon 
That  me  ne  mai  bi-swiken. 

Layamon,  vol.  i,  p.  32. 

{Nis  nawer.  There  is  nowhere  ;  7ne,  one  ;  biswiken,  deceive.) 

Nis  nauer  nan  mon 

That  me  ne  mai  mid  swikedome  ouer-gan. 
Layamon,  vol.  ii,  p.  211. 
Here  the  later  text  has : — 

Thar  nis  no  man  so  wis 

That  me  ne  mai  bi-swike 
(that  one  may  not  deceive). 

None  is  so  wise,  but  the  fool  overtakes  him  (Hazlitt). 
Wise  men  are  caught  in  wiles  (Ray).     D.  i.  928. 


For  the  mon  is  muchel  sot 
The  nimeth  to  him-seoluen 
Mare  thonne  he  mayen  walden. 

Layamon,  vol.  i,  p.  278. 
B  2 


(For  the  man  is  a  great  fool  who  taketh  upon  himself  more 
than  he  can  manage.) 

He  that  grasps  at  too  much,  holds  nothing  fast  (Hazlitt). 
Cf.  Chaucer,  Proverbs,  7  ;  see  no.  146. 


Ful  so[t]h  seide  the  seg 
The  theos  saye  talde : 
Yif  thu  ileuest  aelcne  mon, 
Selde  thu  saelt  wel  don. 

Layamon,  vol.  i,  p.  342. 

(Very  truth  said  the  man  who  told  this  saw  :  If  thou  believest 
every  man,  seldom  shalt  thou  do  well.) 

Believe  a'  ye  hear,  an'  ye  may  eat  a'  ye  see. — Hislop. 

[Do  not  all  you  can.]  .  .  .  believe  not  all  you  hear. — Hazlitt ; 
p.  III. 

Believe  as  you  list  (i.e.  what  you  please). — Massinger  (title 
of  a  play). 


Whilen  hit  wes  iseid 

Inne  soth  spelle : 

That  moni  mon  deth  muchel  uvel 

Al  his  unthankes. 

Layamon,  vol.  i,  p.  353. 

(Once  it  was  said  in  true  speech,  that  many  a  man  doth  much 

evil  all  against  his  will.) 

Video  meliora  proboque  ; 

Deteriora  sequor. 

Ovid,  Afet.  vii.  20. 

What  I  hate,  that  do  I.— Rom.  vii.  15. 



Hit  wes  yare  i-que^en  : 
That  betere  is  liste 
Thene  ufel  strenthe. 

Layamon,  vol.  ii,  p.  297. 

(It  was  said  of  yore,  that  better  is  art  than  evil  strength.) 
See  below,  no.  195. 


He  wes  than  yungen  for  fader, 
Than  alden  for  frouer ; 
And  with  than  unwise 
Wunder  ane  sturnne. 

Layamon,  vol.  ii,  p.  413. 

(He  was  as  a  father  to  the  young,  a  comfort  to  the  old,  and 
wonderfully  stern  to  the  foolish.) 

Cf.     Fader  be  thu  with  child  ; 
The  arme  gin  thu  froueren. 

Prov.  oj  Alfred^  592. 
(Be  father  to  the  child,  and  comfort  the  poor.) 
See  Ecclus.  iv.  10. 


^uere  me  aehte  wisne  mon 
Wurthliche  igreten. 

Layamon,  vol.  ii,  p.  518. 

(One  ought  always  to  greet  worthily  a  wise  man.)     Cf.  Levit. 
xix.  32 ;  quoted  in  Chaucer,  C.  T.,  C  743. 



Swa  deth  auer-alc  raon 

The  other  luuien  con. 

Yif  he  is  him  to  leof, 

Thenne  wule  he  liyen, 

And  suggen  on  him  wurthscipe 

Mare  thenne  he  beo  wurthe. 

Layamon,  vol.  ii,  p.  541. 

(So  doth  every  man  that  can  love  another.  If  he  is  too  dear 
to  him,  then  will  he  lie,  and  say  of  him  more  honour  than  he  is 
worth.)     Cf.  Ps.  xii.  2. 


Me  con  bi  than  aethe 
Lasinge  suggen, 
Theh  he  weore  the  bezste  mon 
The  aeuere  stt  at  borde. 

Layamon,  vol.  ii,  p.  542. 

(One  can  say  falsehood  concerning  an  enemy,  though  he 
were  the  best  man  that  ever  ate  at  board.) 


For  idelnesse  is  luther 
On  aelchere  theode  ; 
For  idelnesse  maketh  mon 
His  monscipe  leose. 
Idelnesse  maketh  cnihte 
For-leosen  his  i-rihte,  &c. 

Layamon,  vol.  ii,  p.  624. 

(For  idleness  is  evil  in  every  land ;   it  makes  man  lose  his 

manhood  ;  it  makes  a  knight  lose  all  his  rights.)    Cf.  Prov.  xix.  15. 


Idleness  teacheth  much  evil. — Ecclus.  xxxiii.  27. 
Idle  young,  needy  auld. — Hislop,  Scot.  Proverbs,    Cf.  D.  ii. 
112;  i.  449. 

For  god  is  grith,  and  god  is  frith. 

Layamon,  vol.  ii,  p.  626. 

(Good   is   security,   and   good   is  peace.)     Safety  is  of  the 
Lord.— Prov.  xxi.  31. 


Iwurthe  thet  iwurthe 
Iwurthe  Godes  wille. 

Layamon,  vol.  iii,  p.  297. 

(Happen  what  may,  God's  will  be  done.) 

Wurthe  that  iwurthe, 

Iwurthe  Godes  wille. 

Prov.  of  Alfred,  571. 
Fiat  uoluntas  tua. — Matt.  vi.  10. 


The  Ancren  Riwle,  or  Rule  of  Anchoresses,  of  uncertain 
authorship,  was  written  about  1225,  and  was  edited  by  J.  Morton 
for  the  Camden  Society  in  1853.  It  contains  four  proverbs  that 
illustrate  Chaucer  (nos.  151,  283,  287,  292)  and  one  cited  under 
no.  70  ;  and  also  the  following. 


Ofte  a  ful  hawur  smith  smeothith  a  ful  woe  knif. — 
Ancren  Riwle^  p,  52. 

(Often  a  full  dexterous  smith  forges  a  very  weak  knife.) 


Lif  and  death  (seith  Salomon)  is  ine  tunge  honden. — 
Ancren  Riwle,  p.  74. 

(Life  and  death,  says  Solomon,  are  in  the  power  of  the  tongue.) 
From  Prov  xviii.  21. 


Me  seith  ine  bisawe :— Vrom  mulne  and  from 
cheping,  from  smithe,  and  from  ancre  huse,  me 
tithinge  bringeth.— ^?2^;'^;/  Riwle,  p.  88. 

(One  says  in  a  proverb  :  From  mill  and  market,  from  smithy 
and  from  nunnery,  people  bring  tidings.) 


Euer  is  the  eie  to  the  wude-leie,  ther-inne  is  thet  ich 
luuie. — Ancren  Riwle,  p.  96. 

(Ever  is  the  eye  (turned)  towards  the  grove,  wherein  is  he 
whom  I  love.)     Cf.  D.  i.  129. 



Veond  thet  thuncheth  freond  is  swike  ouer  alle 
swike. — A^icren  Riwle^  p.  98. 

(An  enemy  that  seems  to  be  a  friend  is  treacherous  beyond  all 

What  pestilence  is  more  mighty  for  to  anoye  a  wight  than 
a  familier  enemy? — Chaucer,  /r.  of  Boethius^hV.  iii,  pr.  5.  50. 
Cf.  Chaucer's  Merchant's  Tale,  E  1783-94.     See  Prov.  xxvii.  6. 

God  keep  me  from  false  friends  ! — Rich.  Ill,  iii.  i.  16. 


Wreththe  is  a  wodshipe. — Ancren  Riwle,  p.  120. 

Ira  furor  breuis  est. 

Horace,  Ep.  i.  2.  62. 


As  me  seith : — Thet  coc  is  kene  on  his  owune 
mixenne. — Ancren  Rhvle^  p.  140, 

(As  they  say :  The  cock  is  brave  on  his  own  dunghill.) 

As  cocke  on  his  dunghill  crowing  cranck. — Spenser,  Shep. 
KaL,  Sept.  47. 

Chien  stir  son  funiier  est  hardi,  A  dbg  (we  say,  a  cock)  is 
valiant  on  his  own  dunghill. — Cotgrave. 

A  cock 's  aye  crouse  {spirited]  on  his  ain  midden-head. — 
Hislop,  Scottish  Proverbs. 

His  land  is  the  dunghill,  and  he  the  cocke  that  crowes  over 
it. — Earle,  Microcosmographie,  ch.  17. 


Euer  so  the  hul  is  more  and  herre,  so  the  wind  is 
more  theron.^ — Ancren  Riwle.,  ^.  178. 

(The  greater  and  higher  the  hill,  the  greater  the  wind  on  it.) 


Ever  so  herre  tur,  so  haueth  more  wind. — Id.  p.  226. 
(The  higher  the  tower,  the  more  wind  it  has.) 
Cf.     Saepius  uentis  agitatur  ingens 
Pinus,  et  celsae  grauiore  casu 
Decidunt  turres. 

Horace,  Carm.  ii.  10.  9. 
Huge  winds  blow  on  high  hills. — Walker  (1672).     D.  i.  740. 


Lutle  dropen  thurleth  thene  ulint  thet  ofte  ualleth 
theron. — Ancren  Riwle^  p.  220. 

(Little  drops  pierce  the  flint  upon  which  they  often  fall ;  from 
Job,  xiv.  19.) 

And  drizling  drops,  that  often  doe  redound, 
The  firmest  flint  doth  in  continuance  weare. 

Spenser,  Sonnet  18. 
And   waste   huge   stones   with   little   water-drops. — Rape  of 
Lucrece,  959. 

In  time  we  see  the  silver  drops 
The  craggy  stones  make  soft. 

Greene,  Song  from  Arhasto. 
The  lyttle   droppes   of  rayne  pearceth  hard   marble.— Lyly, 
Etiphues,  p.  127. 

Gutta  cauat  lapidem.— Ovid,  ex  Ponto,  iv.  10.  5.     D.  ii.  480. 


Euerich    thing    me    mei    ouerdon.     Best    is    euer 
i-mete. — Ancren  Rtwie,  p.  286, 

(One  may  overdo  everything.     Moderation  is  always  best.) 
The   middel   weie   of  mesure   is   euer   guldene. — 
Id.  p.  336. 

(The  middle  way  of  moderation  is  always  golden.) 
Of  alle  wysdom  that  shal  dure, 
The  most  wysdom  than  ys  '  mesure '. 

Robert  of  Brunne,  Handlyng  Synne^  6527. 


Mesure  is  medicyne  though  thow  moche  yerne. — Piers 
Plowman,  B.  I.  35. 

Mesure  is  a  meri  mene  though  men  moche  yerne. — Richard 
the  Redeles,  ii.  139. 
(mesure,  moderation.) 

Yet  mesure  is  a  mery  mene. — Skelton,  Magnificence,  385. 
Measure  is  a  merry  mean,  as  this  doth  shew, 
Not  too  high  for  the  pye,  nor  too  low  for  the  crow. 

Heyvvood,  Proverbs  ;  ed.  1562  ;  pt.  ii.  c.  6. 

Compare  also  the  following  :  — 

An  olde  proverbe — '  mesour  is  tresoure  '. — Lydgate,  Minor 
Poems,  p.  82. 

Men  wryte  of  oold  how  mesour  is  tresour. — Id.  p.  208. 

Measure  is  treasure. — Skelton,  Magnificence,  126.  See 
Chaucer,  C  Z.,  G  645  ;  no.  283. 


Hwo  ne  deth  hwon  he  mei,  he  ne  schal  nout  hwon 
he  wolde. — Ancren  Riwle,  p.  296  ;  and  p.  338. 

(He  that  doth  not  when  he  may,  shall  not  when  he  would.) 
Hyt  ys  seyd  al  day,  for  thys  skyl, 
'  He  that  wyl  nat  whan  he  may 
He  shal  nat,  when  he  wyl.' 

Robert  of  Brunne,  Handlyng  Synne,  4795. 

The  French  original  has  :  — 

Ki  ne  fet  quant  il  peot, 
II  ne  fra  quant  il  veut. 
(He  who  does  not  when  he  can,  shall  not  do  when  he  wishes.) 
Robene,  thow  hes  hard  soung  and  say. 

In  gestis  and  storeis  auld. 
The  man  that  will  nocht  quhen  he  may 
Sail  haif  nocht  quhen  he  wald. 

R.  Henryson,  Robene  and  Makyne,  st.  12. 


Alph.     No,  damsel ;   he  that  will  not  when  he  may, 
When  he  desires,  shall  surely  purchase  nay. 

Greene,  Alphonsus,  v.  3  ;  1.  1744. 
He  that  winna  when  he  may,  shanna  when  he  wad. — Hislop. 


Betere  is  er  then  to  lete. — A  iter  en  Riwle,  p.  340. 

(Better  is  early  {too  soon]  than  too  late.) 
Better  soon  than  syne  [/(?/^].— Hislop,  Sco/.  Proverbs. 
Better  sune  as  syne— better  a  finger  aff  as  aye  wagging. — 
Scott,  Rob  Roy,  ch.  18.     See  no.  287. 


The  date  of  this  poem  is  about  1250.  It  was  printed  by 
T.  Wright  for  the  Percy  Society  in  1843  ;  and  by  Stratmann  in 
1868.  It  contains  several  proverbs  that  occur  in  Handing  and 
Chaucer  (nos.  72,  81,  83,  and  136,  195,  231,  283,  290);  two 
others  (nos.  36,  131) ;  and  also  the  following. 


Dahet  habbe  that  ilke  best 
That  fuleth  his  owe  nest. 

Oivl  and  Nightingale^  99. 

(A  curse  be  upon  that  beast  [creature,  bird]  that  defiles  his 
own  nest !) 

An  old  prov^rbe  seyd  is  in  English : 
Men  seyn — that  bird  or  foul  is  dishonest, 
What  that  he  be,  and  holden  ful  churlish, 
That  useth  to  defoule  his  owne  nest. 

Hoccleve,  Lett e)'  of  Cupid.,  183. 
How  olde  proverbys  say, 
That  byrd  is  not  honest 
That  fylythe  his  owne  nest. 

Skelton,  Against  Garnesche,  iii.  196. 
It 's  an  ill  bird  that  files  its  ain  nest.  — Scott,  Rob  Roy,  ch.  26. 
D.  ii.  561. 


Al-so  hit  is  bi  than  ungode 
That  is  i-cumen  of  fule  brode, 


And  is  meind  wit  fre  monne : 
Ever  he  cuth  that  he  com  thonne, 
That  he  com  of  than  adel  eye 
Thegh  he  [in]  a  fre  nest  leie. 

Owl  and  Nightingale^  1 29. 

(So  it  is  said  of  the  bad  one  that  came  of  a  foul  brood,  and  is 
mixed  up  with  free  men  ;  he  always  shows  that  he  came  thence, 
and  came  of  an  addle  ^^%,  though  he  may  lie  in  a  free  nest.) 
See  no.  31. 
What  is  bred  in  the  bone  will  not  out  of  the  flesh.— Heywood, 
The  wolf  may  lose  his  teeth,  but  ne'er  his  nature. — Hislop, 
Scot.  Proverbs. 

He  schuntet  that  hine  w[e]l  wot. 

Owl  and  Nightingale.^  236. 

(Attributed  to  king  Alfred.     He  shuns  (the  man)  that  knows 
him  well.) 
Just  above,  at  1.  229,  we  find  : — 

Vor  evrich  thing  that  schuniet  right, 
Hit  luveth  thuster  and  hatiet  light. 
(For  everything  that  shuns  what  is  right  loves  darkness  and 
hates  light.)     Cf.  John,  iii.  19. 

De  qu^t  deit,  de   schuwet  gern  dat  licht.— Reinke  de  Vos 
(Reynard  the  Fox),  25. 

(He  who  does  evil,  tries  to  avoid  the  light.) 


That  wit  the  fule  haueth  i-mene 

Ne  cumeth  he  neuer  from  him  cleine. 

Oivl  and  Nightingale^  301. 
(He  that  hath  communion  with  the  foul  man  never  comes 
away  from  him  clean.)     Attributed  to  king  Alfred. 


Tharfore  hyt  ys  a  grete  folye 
With  cursed  man  haue  cumpanye, 
Seynt  Poule  seyth,  that  moche  wot. 

Robert  of  Brunne,  Handlyng  Synne,  6575. 
See  I  Cor.  xv.  33 ;  cf.  Ps.  xviii.  26.     D.  i.  583. 


Nis  no  man  for  his  bare  songe 
Let,  ne  wrth  noght  suthe  longe ; 
Vor  that  is  a  for-worthe  man 
That  bute  singe  noght  ne  can. 

Owl  and  Nightiiigale^  571. 

(iV/V,  is  not ;   Lef,  dear ;   ivrth^   will  be  ;   siithe,  very  ;  for- 
worthe^  degenerate  ;  bute,  except ;  noght,  (S:c.,  knows  nothing.) 
Compare  the  Fable  of  the  Grasshopper  and  the  Ant 


Sel[d]e  endedh  wel  the  lothe, 
An  selde  plaidedh  wel  the  wrothe. 

Owl  and  Nightingale,  941. 
(The  hated  man  seldom  ends  well,  and  the  angry  man  seldom 
pleads  well.)     Attributed  to  king  Alfred.     Cf.  Prov.  xiv.  17. 


Wel  fight  that  wel  specth — seide  Alvred. 

Owl  and  Nightingale,  1070. 
(He  that  speaks  well,  fights  well.) 
Similar  to : — 

For  specheles  may  no  man  spede. — Gower,  Conf.  Amant.  i. 

He   that   spares   to   speak,  spares   to   speed. — Hislop.     See 
no.  131. 



Yef  thu  i-slhst  [him  er]  he  beo  i-cume, 
His  strencthe  is  him  wel  neh  bi-nume. 

Owl  and  Nightingale^  1223. 

(If  thou  seest  him  [the  foe]  before  he  has  come  near,  his 
strength  is  wellnigh  taken  from  him.)  A  proverb  attributed  to 
king  Alfred. 

There  is  here  a  mistaken  and  perverted  reference  to  the 
Roman  belief  concerning  wolves.  Holland's  Pliny  (bk.  viii. 
c.  22)  has : — 'It  is  commonly  thought  in  Italy,  that  the  eyesight 
of  wolves  is  hurtful,  in  so  much  as  if  they  see  a  man  before  hee 
espy  him,  they  cause  him  to  lose  his  voice  for  the  time.'  This 
is  alluded  to  in  Virgil,  Ed.  ix.  54  ;  Dryden's  translation  (1.  74) 
has  : — 

My  voice  grows  hoarse ;    I  feel  the  notes  decay, 
As  if  the  wolves  had  seen  me  first  to-day. 


A  piece  usually  thus  entitled  was  composed  about  1275.  It 
is  a  poem  of  a  didactic  order,  containing  some  sentences  that 
may  fairly  be  called  Proverbs,  and  several  passages  of  instructive 
advice  expressed  at  too  great  a  length  to  deserve  such  a  title. 
Hence  I  only  cite  some  selected  examples.  It  was  first  printed 
in  the  Reliquiae  Antiquae  in  1841  ;  secondly,  in  Dr.  Morris's 
Old  English  Miscelkmy,  for  the  E.E.  T.  S.,  in  1872;  and 
thirdly  by  myself,  for  the  Clarendon  Press,  in  1907.  These 
three  editions  contain  both  texts  of  the  poem  ;  one  of  them  was 
printed  by  Kemble,  in  1848,  in  his  work  entitled  The  Dialogue 
of  Salomon  and  Saturnus.  Such  of  these  Proverbs  as  illustrate 
Hending  and  Chaucer  are  quoted  further  on ;  see  nos.  69,  Ti, 
78,  83,  92,  94,  95,  and  139,  195,  226,  257,  284,  293.  Two  others 
have  been  quoted  above ;  see  nos.  9,  15. 


Hwych  so  the  mon  soweth,  al  svvuch  he  schal  mowe. 

Prov.  of  Alfred,  A  82. 
From  Galat.  vi.  7. 

That  man  schal  erien  an  sowe 
Thar  he  wenth  after  sum  god  mowe. 

Owl  and  Nightingale,  1037. 
{erien,  plough  ;   Thar  he  wenth,  where  he  expects  ;  god,  good 
As  they  sow,  so  let  them  reap  (Ray).     D.  ii.  649. 


Eueryches  monnes  dom  to  his  owere  dure  churreth. 

Prov.  of  Alfred,  A  84. 

(Every  man's  judgement  returns  to  his  own  door.)  Cf.  Chaucer, 
C.  T.,  I  620 ;  see  no.  293. 

SKEAT.      E.  E.  P.  C 



Wyth-ute  wysdome  is  weole  wel  unwurth. 

Prov.  of  Alfred,  A  119. 

(Without  wisdom  wealth  is  of  little  value.) 
How  much  better  is  it  to  get  wisdom  than  gold  !— Prov.  xvi. 
16.     Cf.  no.  68. 


Strong  hit  is  to  rowe  ayeyn  the  see  that  floweth, 
So  hit  is  to  swynke  ayeyn  un-yhmpe. 

Prov.  of  Alfred,  A  145. 

(Strong,  hard  ;  swynke,  St'c,  to  toil  against  misfortune.) 
In  vain  it  is  to  strive  against  the  stream.— Greene,  Alphonsus, 
i.  I  ;  1.  142. 

It  is  in  vain  to  strive  with  such  a  stream.— Peele,  Battle  oj 
Alcazar,  iv.  2. 

Hard  it  is  to  stryve  with  wind  or  wawe, 
Whether  it  do  ebbe  or  flowe. 
Piers  of  Fulham,  303  (Hazlitt,  Early  Pop.  Poetry,  ii.  13). 
He  is  not  wyse  ageyne  the  streme  that  stryuith.— Skelton, 
Garland  of  Laurell,  1432.     Cf.  D.  ii.  407. 


Ne  wurth  thu  neuer  so  wod,  ne  so  wyn-drunke, 
That  euere  segge  thine  wife  alle  thine  wille. 

Prov.  of  Alfred,  A  '3,6<). 
{Ne  wurth  thu  neuer,   Never  be  ;    ivod,  mad  ;    That  euere 
segge,   as  ever  to  tell.)     He   wha  tells   his  wife  a'   is  newly 
married.— Hislop.     Cf.  Prov.  of  Alfred,  B  478-81. 



For  ofte  museth  the  kat  after  hire  moder. 

Prov.  of  Alfred^  A2^6. 
{museih,  catches  mice  ;  after,  just  like.) 

That  that  comes  of  a  cat  will  catch  mice. 
Chi  di  gatta  nasce  sorici  piglia. — Ray. 
And  see  Kemble,  Salomon  and  Saturn,  p.  252. 
A  chip  of  the  old  block.     D.  i.  879.     From  Aesop's  Fables. 


Beter  is  child  unbore  thane  unbuhsum. 

Prov.  of  Alfred^  A  449. 

(unbore,  unborn  ;  unbuhsiim,  disobedient.) 
Better  were  the  chylde  unbore 
Than  fayle  chastysyng,  and  syththen  lore. 

Rob.  of  Brunne,  Handlyng  Synne,  4855. 
Cf.  Prov.  X.  I  ;  xxiii.  24;  Ecclus.  xxx,  9.     See  no.  57. 
Better  were  a  childe  unborne  than  untaught.— //(?w  the  Good 
Wife  taught;  in  Hazlitt,  Early  Popular  Poetry,  i.  192. 


The  bicche  bitith  ille 
Thauh  he  berke  stille. 

Prov.  of  Alfred^  B652. 

{ille,  severely  ;  he,  she  ;  berke  stille,  bark  quietly.) 

Barking  dogs  bite  not  the  sorest. — R.  Greene,  George  a  Greene, 
A.  iv.  sc.  3.  903. 

The  greatest  barkers  bite  not  sorest. — Ray,  Proverbs. 

Cowardly  dogs  bark  loudest.— Webster,    White  Devil;    ed. 
Dyce,  p.  22.     D.  i.  16,  171. 

C    2 


A  poem  of  very  great  length,  in  the  Northumbrian  dialect,  on 
the  subjects  of  the  Old  and  New  Testaments.  Edited  by  Dr. 
Morris  for  the  E.E.  T.  S.  The  date  is  about  1300,  I  have 
noted  only  ten  proverbs  in  it,  though  there  may  be  more.  I 
quote  four  of  these  here;  one  under  no.  123  ;  and  five  that 
illustrate  Chaucer  (nos.  141,  226,  244,  246,  286), 


For  hauk  es  eth — als  I  here  say — 
To  reclaym  that  has  tint  his  pray. 

Cursor  Mtindi,  3529. 

(For — as  I  hear  say — it  is  easy  to  reclaim  a  hawk  that  has 
lost  its  prey.)    Cf.  Chaucer,  C.  T.,  A  4134  ;  see  no.  235. 


Luken  luue  at  the  end  wil  kith. 

Cursor  Mundi^  4276. 

(Concealed  love  will  show  itself  at  last.) 
Love  and  a  cough  cannot  be  hid  (Hazlitt).     See  no,  128. 
U amour,  la  tousse,  et  la  galle  ne  se  peuvent  celer;  Prov. ;  we 
say,  love  and  the  cough  cannot  be  hidden. — Cotgrave. 
Though  ye  tether  time  and  tide. 
Love  and  light  ye  canna  hide. — Hislop.    D.  ii.  46. 


For  qua  bigin  wil  ani  thing 
He  aght  to  thine  on  the  ending. 

Cursor  Mundi,  4379* 

(For  he  who  will  begin  a  thing  ought  to  think  how  it  may  end.) 

Cf.  H ending,  st.  2  ;  see  no.  6y.   From  Ecclus.  vii.  36.    D.  i.  100. 




He  was  hale  sume  ani  trote. 

Cursor  Mtmdi,  8150. 
(He  was  as  whole  as  any  trout.) 

Als  a  fische  thou  made  me  fere, 


(Thou  madest  me  as  whole  as  a  fish.) 

Fyve  cheynes  I  have,  and  they  ben  fysh-hole  [i.  e.  completely 
good]. — Chevelere  Assigne,  353. 
As  sound  as  a  trout  (Ray). 


The  date  is  about  1300.     Edited  for  the  E.  E.  T.  S.  in  1868, 
and  for  the  Oxford  Press  in  1902,  by  W.  W.  Skeat. 

It  contains  ten  proverbs,  as  below  ;  cf.  also  nos.  148,  179. 


Hope  maketh  fol  man  ofte  blenkes. 

Havelok,  307, 

(Hope  often  deludes  the  foolish  man.)    Cf.  Chaucer,  Troilus, 
\.  217  ;  see  no.  148. 


For  man  shal  god  wille  haue. 

Havelok^  600. 
(For  one  ought  to  show  good  will.) 


Ther  God  wile  helpen,  nouht  ne  dereth, 

Havelok,  648. 
(Where  God  will  help,  nothing  does  harm.)    D.  i.  635. 
Wele  thryveth  that  God  loveth.— //^w  the  Good  Wife  taught; 
in  Hazlitt,  Early  Popular  Poetry,  i.  180. 

God  helps  them  that  help  themselves.— Hislop,  Scot.  Proverbs. 


Lith  and  selthe  felawes  be, 

Havelok,  1338. 
(Helpfulness  and  success  are  companions.) 


Dwelling  hath  ofte  scathe  wrouht. 

Havelok^  1352. 

(Delay  has  often  wrought  harm.)     Cf.  Chaucer,  Troilus,  iii, 
852  ;  see  no.  179. 


He  was  ful  wis  that  first  yaf  mede. 

Havelok^  1635. 

(He  was  very  wise  who  first  gave  a  reward.) 

He  was  ful  wise,  I  say, 

That  first  yave  yift  in  land. 

Sir  Trisirem,  626. 

Bounden  he  is  that  yifte  takith.— /A^w  the  Good  Wife  taught; 
in  Hazlitt,  Early  Popular  Poetry,  i.  185. 


Wei  is  him  that  god  man  fedes. 

Havelok,  1693. 

(Well  for  him  whom  a  good  man  feeds  ;  or  rather,  who  feeds 

a  good  man.)     See  no.  55. 


Wei  is  set,  he  etes  mete. 

Havelok,  2036. 

(Well  bestowed  is  the  food  that  he  eats.) 


Old  sinne  makes  newe  shame. 

Havelok,  2461. 
De  vielz peche  novele plate— WdiCe,  Roman  de  Brut  (see  note 
to  Layamon,  979). 


Thus  synnes  olde  make  shames  come  ful  newe. — Hardyng, 
Chron,  c.  114,  st.  18. 

Men  sein — Old  senne,  newe  schame.— Gower,  C.  A.  iii.  2033. 
Vieiix  peche  fait  fiouvelle  Jionte. — Cotgrave. 


Him  stondes  wel  that  god  child  strenes. 

Havelok^  2983. 

(It  is  well  with  him  who  begets  a  good  child.)     A  wise  son 
maketh  a  glad  father. — Prov.  x.  i ;  xv.  20.     See  no.  42. 


The  long  romantic  poem  with  the  above  title  is  printed  in  the 
first  volume  of  the  Metrical  Romances  edited  by  H.  Weber, 
Edinburgh,  l8io.  The  date  of  the  poem  is  about  1300.  In 
addition  to  the  Proverbs  quoted  below  cf.  nos.  155,  263. 


For  Caton  seith,  thes  gode  techere, 
Other  raanis  lif  is  owre  schewere. 

King  Alls aunder^  17. 

(Other  men's  lives  are  our  example  ;  lit.  our  mirror.) 
Cf.  Chaucer,  C.  T.,  D  180;  see  no.  263. 

Lives  of  great  men  all  remind  us 

We  can  make  our  lives  sublime. 

Longfellow,  Psalm  of  Life. 


Soth  hit  is,  in  al[le]  thyng, 

Of  eovel  lif  comuth  eovel  eyndyng. 

King  Alisauitder^  753. 

(Of  evil  life  comes  evil  end.) 

For  clerkes  sey[e]n,  in  wrytyng, 
That  treson  hath  eovel  eyndyng. 

Jd,  4733. 

Cf.  Ps.  cxl.  II  ;  and  Chaucer,  C.  T.,  B  1822  ;  see  no.  247. 


Men  tellen,  in  olde  mone, 

The  qued  comuth  nowher  alone. 

Kiiig  Alisatmder.,  1281. 
{mone.,  remembrance.     Evils  do  not  come  singly.) 


Malheur  ne  vient  jamais  seul,  mischances  never  come  single, 
one  misfortune  succeeds  in  the  neck  of  another. — Cotgrave. 
When  sorrows  come,  they  come  not  single  spies, 
But  in  battalions. — Hatnlet,  iv.  5.  79. 
Hardships  seldom  come  single. — Hislop.     D.  ii.  512. 


Nultow  never,  late  ne  skete, 
A  goshauk  maken  of  a  kete, 
No  faucon  mak[en]  of  busard, 
No  hardy  knyght  mak  of  coward. 

King  Alisaunder^  3047- 

{Nultow,  thou  wilt  not ;  skete,  quickly,  soon  ;  kete,  kite.) 

This  have  I  herd  ofte  in  seying — 
That  man  [ne]  may,  for  no  daunting, 
Make  a  sperhauke  of  a  bosarde. 

Romaunt  of  the  Rose,  4031. 
{sperhauke,  sparrow-hawk;  bosarde,  buzzard.)     Cf.  no.  iii. 


More  honour  is,  faire  to  sterve, 
Than  in  servage  vyliche  to  serve. 

King  Alisazinder,  3069. 

Melius  est  enim  mori  quam  indigere. — Ecclus.  xl.  28  {or  29). 

Expedit  enim  mihi  mori  magis  quam  uiuere. — Tobit,  iii.  6. 
Cf.  P.  Plowman,  C.  ii.  144,  xviii.  40. 

Melius  est  ergo  mori  uitae  quam  uiuere  morti. —  Innocent  III, 
De  Contemptu  Mundi,  i.  24. 

Thiyldome  is  weill  wer  than  deid. — Barbour,  Bruce,  i.  269. 

(Servitude  is  even  worse  than  death.)     D.  i.  179. 



Hit  is  y-writein,  every  thyng 

Himseolf  shewith  in  tastyng. 

King  Alisaunder^  4042. 
Omnia  probate. — I  Thess.  v.  21. 

The  proof  of  a  pudding  is  in  the  eating.— Heywood's  Proverbs. 
Try  before  you  trust  (Hazlitt), 


Nis  no  day  othir  y-lyk. 

King  Alisaunder,  6995. 

Cf.  Chaucer,  C.  T.,  A  1539,  which  partly  contradicts  this. 
See  no.  219. 

Why  doth  one  day  excel  another  ?— Ecclus.  xxxiii.  7. 


Beter  is,  lyte  to  have  in  ese 
Then  muche  to  have[n]  in  malese. 

King  Alisawider^  7365. 

Cf.   Prov.   XV.    16.     Little   gear,  little   care.— Hislop,   Scot. 
Proverbs.     D.  i.  182. 


Who-so  is  of  dede  untreowe 
Ofte  hit  schal  him  sore  reowe. 

King  Alisaunder.,  'J2,^'j. 

Cf.  Prov.  xi.  3,  5,  6,  7,  &c.     D.  ii.  521. 

Given  by  Gower  in  a  different  form. 

The  proverbe  is,  who  that  is  trewe 
Him  schal  his  while  nevere  rewe. 

C.  A.  vii.  1961. 


The  collection  called  The  Proverbs  ofHending^  may  be  dated 
about  1300.  In  the  first  stanza  the  *wyse  H ending'  is  called 
*  Marcolves  sone '  or  the  son  of  Marcolf,  a  mythical  sage  whose 
reputed  sayings  are  discussed  by  Kerable  in  his  work  entitled 
The  Dialogue  of  Salomon  and  Saturniis,  the  latter  of  whom 
Marcolf  sometimes  represented.  My  quotations  are  taken  from 
Boddeker's  edition  of  MS.  Harl.  2253,  entitled  Altenglische 
Dichtungen,  published  at  Berlin  in  1878  (pp.  285-300) ;  which 
I  cite  by  the  stanza.    See  also  nos.  139,  155,  158,  226,  245,  286. 


God  beginning  maketh  god  endynge. 

Hending,  st.  2. 
Wei  is  him  that  wel  ende  mai.— Another  version;  Reliquiae 
Antiquae,  i.  193. 

For  qua  bigin  wil  ani  thing 
He  aght  to  thine  on  the  ending. 

Cursor  Mundi,  4379. 
De  bon  commencement,  bonne  fin. — French  proverb  (cited  by 
Who  take  hede  of  the  begynnyng,  what  fal  shal  of  the  ende, 
He  leyith  a  bussh  tofore  the  gap,  ther  Fortune  wold  in  ryde. 

Tale  of  Beryn,  1788. 
For  gude  help  is  in  begynnyng  ; 
For  gude  begynnyng  and  hardy, 
And  it  be  followit  vittely, 
May  ger  oftsiss  unlikly  thing 
Com  to  full  conabill  endyng. 

Barbour,  Bruce,  v.  262-6. 
{And,  if;    vittely,  wittily,  wisely;  ger  oftsiss,  make  often; 
conabill,  fitting,  suitable.) 

Weel  begun  is  half  done. — Hislop.     See  no.  46.    Cf.  D.  i.  loi. 



Wyt  and  wysdom  is  god  warysoun. 

Hending,  st.  3. 

{god  warysoun,  good  provision  or  store.)     Cf.  no.  i^, 


Whose  yong  lereth,  olt  he  ne  leseth. 

Hending,  st.  6. 

{lereth,  learns  ;  olt  (for  old) ;  he  loses  not  when  old.) 
Quo  semel  est  imbuta  recens  seruabit  odorem 
Testa  diu.  Horace,  Epist.  lib.  i.  ep.  2.  69-70. 

Cui  puer  assuescit,  maior  dimittere  nescit. — Latin  proverb. 
The  mon  the  on  his  youhthe  yeome  leorneth 
Wit  and  wisdom,  and  iwriten  reden, 
He  may  beon  on  elde  wenliche  lortheu  \good  teacher^. 
Proverbs  of  Alfred,  A  100-5. 
For  thing  i-take  in  [youthe,  is]  hard  to  put  away.  — 71?/^  of 
Beryn,  938.     D.  i.  845.     vSee  no.  99. 


Let  lust  ouer  gon,  eft  hitshal  the  lyke. 

Hending,  st.  7. 

(Let  your  desire  pass  away ;  afterwards  it  will  please  you.) 
Let  lust  ouergon,  and  hit  te  wule  liken. 

Ancren  Riwle,  p.  118. 

Betere  is  eye  sor,  then  al  blynd. 

Hending,  st.  8. 
(Better  for  the  eye  to  be  sore,  than  to  be  all  blind.) 
Luscus  praefertur  caeco,  sic  undique  fertur. 

Quoted  by  Kemble,  Salomon  and  Saturn,  p.  281. 

30         THE   PROVERBS   OF    HENDING 

Better  ae  e'e  than  hail-blind. — Hislop,  Proverbs  of  Scotland, 
1868,  p.  32.     The  third  edition  has — a'  blind  [all  blind). 
(Better  one  eye  than  wholly  blind.)     D.  i.  192. 


Wei  fyht,  that  wel  flyth. 

Hending,  st.  10. 

(Well  fights  he  who  well  flies.) 

Wel  fight  that  wel  flight,  seith  the  wise. 

Owl  and  Nightingale,  176. 
For  those  that  fly  may  fight  again, 
Which  he  can  never  do  that 's  slain. 

Butler,  Hudibras,  pt.  iii,  c.  3.  243. 
And  see  no.  136. 


Tel  thou  neuer  thy  fo  that  thy  fot  aketh. 

Hending,  st.  12, 
If  thou  hauest  seoruwe,  ne  seye  thu  hit  than  arewe. 

Proverbs  of  Alfred,  A  227. 
(If  thou  hast  a  sorrow  (or  pain),  do  not  tell  it  to  the  bad- 
hearted  man.) 

Open  not  thine  heart  to  every  man,  lest  he  requite  thee  with 
,a  shrewd  turn. — Ecclus.  viii.  19. 

Never  trust  thine  enemy. — Ecclus.  xii.  10. 
Ne'er  tell  your  fae  [foe]  when  your  fit  sleeps  [foot  is  asleep]. — 


Betere  is  appel  y-yeue  then  y-ete. 

Hending,  St.  13. 

{y-yeue,  &c.  ;  given  than  eaten.) 

Bettir  is  one  appil  i-yeuin  than  twain  i-yeten. 

Hending  (Cambridge  MS.). 

THE   PROVERBS   OF   HENDING         31 

Mieux  vaut  euf  donn6  que  euf  tnangid. — Le  Roux  de  Lincy, 
Prov.  ii.  348. 
A  bit  is  aften  \often'\  better  gi'en  than  eaten. — Hislop. 


Este  bueth  oune  brondes. 

Hending,  st.  14. 

(Pleasant  are  one's  own  brands,  i.e.  is  one's  own  fireside.) 

Scintillae  propriae  sunt  mihi  deliciae. — MS.  Trin.  Coll.  Cam. 
O.  2.  45,  fol.  365. 

Ane's  ain  hearth  is  gowd's  worth  \%vorth  gold\ — Hislop. 

Home  is  home,  though  it  be  never  so  homely   (Ray).     Cf. 
D.  >•  334,  335.  336- 


Gredy  is  the  godles. 

Hending,  St.  15. 

{godles,  i.  e.  good-less,  the  needy  or  poor  man.) 


When  the  coppe  is  follest,  thenne  ber  hire  feyrest. 

Hending,  st.  16. 

(When  the  cup  is  fullest,  then  carry  it  most  carefully.) 
Vas  plenum  recto  qui  tenet  orbe  ferat. 

Quoted  by  Kemble,  Salomon  and  Saturn,  p.  281. 
A  fu'  cup  is  ill  to  carry.— Hislop. 


Monimon  syngeth.  When  he  horn  bryngeth 

Is  yonge  wyf; 
Wyste  [he]  whet  he  broghte,  Wepen  he  mohte. 

Hending,  st.  18. 
{Monimon,  many  a  man  ;  Is,  his  ;   Wyste  he,  if  he  knew.) 

32         THE  PROVERBS   OF   HENDING 

Monymon  singeth  That  wif  horn  bryngeth, 
Wiste  he  hwat  he  brouhte  Wepen  he  myhte. 

Proverbs  of  Alfred,  A  264. 

Mennich  man  lude  synghet, 
Wen  men  em  de  brut  bringet : 
Weste  he,  wat  men  em  brochte, 
Dat  he  wol  wenen  mochte. 
The   above   lines,  dated    1575,  appear  over  a   fireplace  in 
a  room  belonging  to  the  Rathskeller  at  Liibeck.     (J.  Zupitza,  in 
Anglia,  iii.  370  (1880).) 
I  translate  them  thus  : — 

Many  a  man  full  loudly  sings 
When  his  bride  he  homeward  brings  ; 
Wist  he,  what  he  home  had  led, 
He  well  might  weep  and  wail  instead. 
It  would  appear  that  the  German  lines  were  adapted  from 
Middle  English.     D.  i.  338. 


Tonge  breketh  bon,  and  nath  hire-selue  non. 

Hending,  st.  19. 

(boti,  bone  ;  nath,  hath  not  ;  hire-selue,  herself.) 
For  ofte  tunge  breketh  bon,  Theyh  heo  seolf  nabbe  non. 

Proverbs  of  Alfred,  A  425. 

Ossa  terat  lingua,  careat  licet  ossibus  ilia. 
La  langue  n'a  grain  ny  d'os  Et  roinpt  Vechine  et  le  dos.—  Le 
Roux  de  Lincy,  Prov.  ii.  325. 
The  tongue  is  not  steel,  yet  it  cuts  (Hazlitt). 

Osse  caret  lingua,  secat  os  tamen  ipsa  maligna. 

(See  my  note  to  Prov.  of  Alfred,  p.  72.) 
All  from  Prov.  xxv.  15  ;  Ecclus.  xxviii.  17.     D.  ii.  744. 



That  me  lutel  yeueth,  he  my  lyf  ys  on. 

Hending,  st.  20. 
(He  who  gives  me  little,  he  is  on  (in  favour  of)  my  life.) 
Me  uult  uitalem  qui  dat  mihi  rem  modicalem. 

MS.  Harl.  3362,  fol.  39. 
Qi  pou  me  doune,  vivre  vie  voet. — Le  Roux  de  Lincy,  Prov. 
ii.  481. 

(Who  gives  me  little,  wishes  me  to  live.) 


The  bet  the  be,  the  bet  the  by-se. — Hending,  st.  21. 
(The  better  it  is  for  thee,  the  better  look  about  thee.) 

Evereuch  man,  the  bet  him  beo, 

Eaver  the  bet  he  hine  beseo. 

Owl  and  Nightingale,  1 269. 
{beo,  be  ;  he  hine  beseo,  let  him  look  about  him.) 


Under  boske  shal  men  weder  abide. 

Hending,  st.  22. 
(Under  a  bush  one  must  abide  the  storm.) 

Under  the  greenwood  tree  .  .  . 

Here  shall  he  see 

No  enemy 

But  winter  and  rough  weather. 

As  You  Like  It,  ii.  5. 
A  wee  bush  is  better  than  nae  bield  \no  shelter]. — Hislop. 
These  evil  showers  make  the  low  bush  better  than  no  bield. — 
Scott,  The  Monastery,  ch.  3. 

SKBAT      E.  E.P.  £) 

34         THE   PROVERBS   OF   RENDING 


When  the  bale  is  hest,  thenne  is  the  bote  nest. 

Hending,  st.  23. 
(When  the  evil  is  highest,  then  is  the  remedy  nighest.) 
Wone  the  bale  is  alre-hecst, 
Thonne  is  the  bote  alre-necst. 

Owl  and  Nightingale,  687-8. 

{alre-hecst,  highest  of  all ;  alre-necst,  nighest  of  all.) 
Trench,  in  his  book  on  Proverbs,  quotes  a  Jewish  saying  :— 
When  the  tale  of  bricks  is  doubled,  Moses  comes.     Cf.  also  The 
Proverbs  of  Alfred,  A  140-4. 

After  bale  cometh  boote,  thurgh  grace  of  God  almight. 

Tale  of  Gamely n,  63 1 
Aftir  bale  comyth  bote,  who-so  byde  conne. 

Tale  of  Beryn,  3956. 

Lo,  an  olde  proverbe .  .  .  Whan  bale  is  greetest,  than  is  bote 
a  nye-bore  \neighboiir\—\5%V,  Test,  of  Love,  ii.  9.  143.  Cf. 
D.  ii.  197. 


Selde  cometh  lone  lahynde  hom.— Hending,  st.  25. 

(Seldom  comes  a  loan  laughing  home  ;  i.  e.  it  is  seldom  joyfully 

A  borrowed  len  \loa7i'\  should  gae  laughing  hame.— Hislop, 
Prov.  of  Scotland.     Cf.  D.  ii.  27. 

Owen  ys  owen,  and  other  mennes  edueth. 

Rending,  st.  26. 

(One's  own  is  one's  own.  The  sense  of  edjieth  (or  edneth)  is 
unknown.  I  propose  to  read  edgeth,  i.  e.  goes  back,  returns ; 
from  AS.  ed-,  back,  and  gxih,  ME.  geth,  goes.  See  later 
forms  of  the  Proverb  below.) 

THE   PROVERBS   OF   HENDING         35 

Borowed  thinge  wole  home. — How  the  Goode  Wif  taught, 
165  ;  in  Hazlitt,  Early  E.  Poetry,  i.  191. 

Borowed  ware  wyll  home  agayne. — Parlametit  o/Byrdes,  224  ; 
in  the  same,  iii.  179. 

Cf.  Owne  is  owne  at  reckonings  end. — Heywood,  Woorkes, 
1562,  pt.  ii.  c.  4  (Hazlitt). 


Of  un-boht  hude  men  kerueth  brod  thong. 

Hending,  st.  28. 

(From  a  hide  unbought  people  cut  a  broad  thong.) 

De  cute  non  propria  maxima  corrigia.— MS.  Trin.  Coll. 
O.  2.  45,  fol.  365. 

Eaire  d'autruy  cuir  large  courroye,  To  spend  freely  on 
another  man's  purse  ;  to  cut  a  large  thong  out  of  another  man's 
leather. — Cotgrave,  s.  v.  Ctnr. 

Ye  cut  lang  whangs  [slices]  afif  ither  folk's  leather.— Hislop. 
Cf.  D.  i.  92. 


He  is  fre  of  hors  that  ner  nade  none. 

Hending,  st.  29. 

(He  is  ready  to  lend  a  horse,  who  never  had  one.) 
He's   free  of  fruit  that  wants  [lacks]  an  orchard.— Hislop, 
Scot.  Prot'erbs. 


Lyht  chep,  luthere  yeldes. 

Hending,  st.  30. 
(That  which  is  cheaply  bought  brings  a  poor  return.) 
Men  say :— Lyght  chepe  letherly  ior-Yoidys.—  To'wneley  Mys- 
teries, xiii.  171. 

Light  cheap,  lither  yield  (Ray). 
D    2 

36         THE   PROVERBS   OF   RENDING 

Dere  is  boht  the  hony  that  is  licked  of  the  thorne. 

Hending,  st.  31. 

Nis  nan  blisse  sothes  inan  thing  thet  is  utevvith,  thet  ne  beo 
to  bitter  aboht ;  thet  et  huni  ther-in,  beoth  licked  of  thornes. 

(There  is  no  true  bliss  in  anything  external  that  is  not  too 
dearly  bought ;  he  that  eats  honey  therein,  it  is  licked  off 
thorns.) — Old  English  Homilies,  ed.  Morris,  i.  185. 

Trop  achepte  le  viiel  qui  sur  espines  le  leche,  He  buyes  hony 
too  deare  that  licks  it  off  thorns.— Cotgrave. 

It's  dear  coft  {dearly  bought]  honey  that's  licked  aff  a  thorn. — 
Hislop.     D.  i.  747. 


Of  alle  mester  men,  mest  me  hongeth  theues. 

Hending,  st.  34. 
(Of  the  men  of  all  trades,  they  especially  hang  thieves.) 


Euer  out  cometh  euel  sponne  web. 

Hending,  st.  35. 
(An  ill-spun  web  always  comes  out.) 
An  ill  spun  weft 

Will  out  either  now  or  eft.     (Hazlitt.) 
This  is  a  Yorkshire  proverb. — Ray.     It  occurs,  accordingly, 
in  the  Toivneley  Mysteries,  xiii.  587. 


Monimon,  for  londe,  Wyueth  to  shonde. 

Hending,  st.  36. 

(Many  a  man,  for  the  sake  of  the  land,  takes  a  wife  to  his 


Ne  schal-tu  neuere  thi  wif  By  hire  wlyte  cheose, 
For  neuere  none  thinge  That  heo  to  the  bryngeth  .  .  . 
For  mony  mon,  for  ayhte,  Vuele  i-auhteth  ;  &c. 
(Thou  shalt  never  choose  thy  wife  by  her  look,  for  the  sake 
of  anything  that  she  brings  thee  ;  for  many  a  man,  for  the  sake 
of  wealth,  calculates  badly.) — Proverbs  of  Alfred,  A  248-55. 
A  dower,  my  lords  !   disgrace  not  so  your  king, 
That  he  should  be  so  abject,  base,  and  poor. 
To  choose  for  wealth  and  not  for  perfect  love. 

I  Hen.  VI,  V.  5.  48. 
Mony  ane  for  land  takes  a  fool  by  the  hand. — Hislop. 


Frendles  ys  the  dede. 

Heading,  st.  37. 

(Friendless  is  the  dead  man.) 

For  the  dede  hath  fewe  freyndys. 

Robert  of  Brunne,  Handlyng  Synne,  6300. 
Home  mort  jiad poynt  de  amy. — Le  Roux  de  Lincy,  Prov.  ii. 
476.    And  see  Cotgrave,  s.  v.  Ami. 


Drynk  eft  lasse,  and  go  by  lyhte  horn. 

Hending,  st.  38. 

(Drink   afterwards   less,   and    go   home  by  daylight.)    Cf. 
Proverbs  of  Alfred,  B.  §  15. 


Hope  of  long  lyf  Gyleth  mony  god  wyfe. 

Hending,  st.  39. 
{Gyleth,  beguiles  ;  god,  good.) 


Monymon  weneth  That  he  wene  ne  tharf, 
Longes  lyues ;   Ac  him  lyeth  that  wrench. 

Proverbs  of  Alfred^  A  i6o, 

(Many  a  man  expects,  what  he  ought  not  to  expect,  a  long 
life  ;  but  that  false  notion  deceives  him.) 

Mon  may  longe  lyues  wene, 
Ac  ofte  him  lyeth  the  wrench. 

Old  English  Miscellany,  ed.  Morris,  p.  157. 

So  also  in  the  same,  p.  36  ;  and  in  the  Ayetibite  of  Inwyt,  ed. 
Morris,  p.  129. 


Robert  Mannyng,  of  Brunne  (Bourne)  in  Lincolnshire,  trans- 
lated William  of  Wadington's  Manuel  des  Pechiez,  in  1303, 
with  the  title  oi Handlyng  Synne.  It  was  edited  by  Dr.  Furnivall 
for  the  Roxburghe  Club  in  1862,  and  again  for  the  E.  E.  T.  S.  in 
1901.  Six  proverbs  have  been  quoted  from  this  poem  above; 
see  nos.  3,  25,  26,  31,  42,  93 ;  and  six  are  quoted  in  illustration 
of  Chaucer,  nos.  159,  176,  262,  292,  294,  295. 


Trouthe  ys  more  than  alle  the  worlde. 

Handlyng  Synne,  2764. 
Magna  est  ueritas,  et  praeualet. 

3  Esdras,  iv.  41. 
For,  aftir  comyn  seying — evir  atte  ende 
The  trowith  woll  be  previd,  how-so  men  evir  trend. 

Tale  of  Beryn,  2037. 


Hys  lyppes,  he  [Solomon]  seyth,  he  shal  make  swete. 

Wyth  feyre  wurdys  he  shal  the  grete ; 

But  yn  hys  herte  he  shal  thynke 

For  to  do  the  a  wykked  blynke. 

Handlyng  Synne,  4179. 
From  Ecclus.  xii.  16. 


Yyue  thy  chylde  when  he  wyl  kraue, 

And  thy  whelpe  whyl  hyt  wyl  haue, 

Than  mayst  thou  make,  yn  a  stounde, 

A  foule  chylde  and  a  feyre  hounde. 

Handling  Synne^  7240. 

(  Vytce,  give  ;  kraue,  ask  ;  stounde,  hour,  short  time.) 

40       ROBERT   MANNYNG,    OF   BRUNNE 

Love  thou  thy  chyldyr  out  of  wytte, 
Trust  to  hem— and  helples  sytte. 

Handling  Synncy  1227. 
Give  a  child  his  fill, 
And  a  whelp  his  will, 
And  neither  will  thrive. 

Gie  a  bairn  his  will,  and  a  whelp  its  fill, 
And  nane  o'  them  will  e'er  do  weel. 

Hislop,  Scot.  Prov. 


(Yn  a  proverbe  of  olde  Englys) — 

That  yougthe  wones,  Yn  age  mones ; 

That  thou  dedyst  ones,  Thou  dedyst  eftsones. 

Handling  Synne^  7674. 

(That  which  youth  is  used  to,  in  age  (one)  remembers ;  that 
which  thou  didst  once,  thou  didst  again.)    See  no.  69. 


The  nere  the  cherche,  the  fyrther  fro  Code. 

Handling  Synne^  9^43- 

To  kerke  the  narre,  from  God  more  farre, 
Has  bene  an  old-sayd  sawe. 

Spenser,  Shep.  Kal.,July,  98. 

The  near  [i,  e.  nearer]  to  the  church,  the  further  from  God. — 
Heywood  ;  pt.  i.  c.  9. 
Pres  de  VEglise  est  souvent  loing  de  Dieu. — Cotgrave. 
Near  the  kirk,  but  far  frae  grace. 




For  thys  men  se  and  say  alday, 
The  threde  eyre  selleth  alle  away. 

Handlyng  Synne^  9478. 

(The  third  heir  sells  away  everything.) 
Ill  gotten  goods  thrive  not  to  the  third  heir  (Hazlitt). 
De  male  quaesitis   vix   gaudet   tertius   haeres.— Quoted  by 
Walsingham,  Hist,  p.  260  (King,  Classical  Quotations). 

The  grandsire  buys,  the  faither  bigs  \builds\ 
The  son  sells  and  the  grandson  thigs  \begs\ 

Unrecht  Gut  kommt  selten  auf  den  dritten  Erben.— D.  i.  648. 


Kowardyse  hyt  ys,  and  foule  maystry 
To  throwe  a  faucoun  at  euery  flye. 

Handlyng  Synne^  10915- 

{maystry,  feat,  in  an  ironical  sense ;  throwe,  let  fly.) 
We  may  compare  the  following  : — 

In  faith,  my  lord,  you  might  go  pistol  flies, 

The  sport  would  be  more  noble. 

Webster,  The  White  Devil,  ed.  Dyce,  p.  22. 


The  poem  entitled  Piers  the  Plowman^  presumably  by  William 
Langland,  appears  in  three  distinct  recensions,  which  have 
been  called  the  A-text,  the  B-text,  and  the  C-text  respectively  ; 
the  probable  dates  of  these  texts  being  about  1362,  1377,  and 
some  time  later  than  1390.  It  has  been  several  times  printed. 
I  refer  here  to  my  edition  of  the  three  texts  as  printed  at  Oxford 
in  1886  (in  two  volumes).  The  Proverbs  cited  in  it  are  rather 

I  also  include  here  the  poem  to  which  I  have  given  the  name 
of  Richard  the  Redeless. 


Selden  moseth  the  marbelston  •  that  men  ofte  treden. 

P.  PL  A.  X.  loi. 

(The  marble-stone  on  which  men  often  tread  seldom  gathers 

Syldon  mossyth  the  stone  that  oftyn  ys  tornnyd  and  wende. 
Quee7i  EHzabetKs  Academy,  ed.  Furnivall,  p.  39. 
The  Proverb  says,  and  who'd  a  Proverb  cross, 
That  Stones,  when  rolling,  gather  little  moss. 

Vade  Mecwnfor  Maltwc^-ms,  1720,  Part  2,  p.  6. 
Saxum  uolutum  non  obducitur  musco. — Ray. 

Then  seek  not  mosse  upon  a  rowling  stone. 

Grttxit,  Jatnes  IV,  ii.  2  ;  1.  951. 
Pierre  qui  se  remue  n'acaieille  point  de  mousse,  the  rolling 
stone  gathers  no  mosse. — Cotgrave,  s.  v.  Mousse. 

And  on  the  stone  that  styll  doth  turne  about  There  groweth  no 
mosse. — Sir  T.  Wiat,  '^rd  Satire,  3.     Cf.  D.  ii.  390. 



Ye  ne  haue  na  more  meryte  •  in  masse  ne  in  houres 
Than    Malkyn    of  hire  maydenhode  •  that   no   man 

P.  PL  B.  i.  1 81-2. 
{haures,  services  of  the  church.) 
Cf.  Chaucer,  C  Z!,  B  30, 
Cf.  There  are  more  maids  than  Malkin. — Heywood. 


Ded  as  a  dore-nayle  (dead  as  a  door-nail). 

P,PL  C.  ii.  184. 
As  ded  as  a  dore-tre  (door-post). — P.  PL  B.  i.  185. 

Ded  as  dore-nail. 

WilL  of  Palerne,  628. 

As  ded  as  dornayl. 

Id.  3396. 
Fahtaff.  What,  is  the  old  king  dead  ? 

Pistol.  As  nail  in  door. 

2  He7i.  IV,  V.  3.  125. 

A  door-nail  was  a  large-headed  nail  with  which  doors  were 
formerly  studded,  for  strength  or  ornamentation.  There  is 
nothing  to  show  that  (as  Todd  conjectured)  the  reference  is  to 
a  nail  on  which  the  knocker  struck. 


Chastite  without  charite  •  worth  cheyned  in  helle ; 
It  is  as  lewed  as  a  laumpe  •  that  no  Hght  is  inne. 

P.  PL  B.  i.  186-7. 

{worth,  shall  be  ;  lewed,  valueless  ;  laumpe,  lamp  in  which  is 
no  light.) 


Maydenhod  wythoute  the   loue    of  God  is  ase  the  lompi 
wythoute  oyle. — Ayenbite  of  Iniuyt,  ed.  Morris,  p.  233. 
Adapted  from  Matt.  xxv.  3. 


Drynke  but  myd  the  doke. 

P.  PL  B.  V.  75 

(Drink  only  With  the  duck  ;  i.  e.  drink  only  water.) 


I  have  as  moche  pite  of  pore  men  •  as  pedlare  hatt 

of  cattes, 
That  wolde  kille  hem,  yf  he  cacche  hem  myghte 

for  couetise  of  here  skynnes. 

P.  PL  B.  V.  258 

(I  have  as  much  pity  on  poor  men  as  a  pedlar  has  on  cats 
Who  would  kill  them,  if  he  could  catch  them,  for  desire  0 
their  skins.) 


I  am  holden,  quod  he,  as  hende  •  as   hounde  is   ir 
kychyne. — P.  PL  B.  v.  261. 

(I  am  considered,  quoth  he,  (to  be)  as  courteous  as  a  dog  ir 
a  kitchen.) 

Mauvais  chien  ne  veut  ianiais  compagnon  en  cuisine,  a  churU 
cannot  endure  a  companion  in  his  gainful  imployments.— 
Cotgrave,  s.  v.  Cuisine. 

Wil  the  hund  gnajh  bon 
I -fere  neld  he  non. 

(While  the  dog  gnaws  a  bone,  he  would  have  no  companion.] 

Dum  canis  os  rodit,  sociari  pluribus  odit.  (These  two  quota- 
tions are  from  T.  Wright's  Essays,  i.  149.) 



He  buffeted  the  Britoner  •  about  the  chekes, 
That  he  loked  like  a  lanterne  •  al  his  lyf  after. 

P.  Pl.B.Yi.  178. 

{Britoner,  Briton,  Welshman ;  loked  like  a  lanterne,  looked 
like  a  lantern,  that  could  be  seen  through.) 

Cf.  '  a  pair  o'  cheeks  like  lantern-leeghts,'  i.  e.  thin  even  to 
transparency. — E.  D.  D. 

Lene  as  lanterne. 

MS.  Laud  656,  fol.  i6b. 


I  rede  eche  a  blynde  bosarde  •  do  bote  to  hym-selue. 

P.  PL  B.  X.  266. 

(I  advise  every  blind  buzzard  to  amend  himself.) 

But  of  other,  thou  blundyrst  as  a  blynde  buserde. 

Wright,  Polit.  Poems,  ii.  98. 
Cf.  no.  61. 


For  qant   OPORTET  vyent  en  place  '  il  ny   ad 
que  PA  TI.     P.  PL  B.  x.  439. 

(For  when  '  must '  comes  forward,  there  is  nothing  for  it  but  to 

And  when  oportet  cums  in  plas, 
Thou  knawys,  miserere  has  no  gras. 

Reliquiae  Antiquae,  ii.  14. 
{miserere,  i.  e.  pity,  has  no  grace,  or  favour.) 

What  cannot  be  eschewed  must  be  embraced. 

Merry  Wives  of  Windsor,  v.  5.  251. 
What  cannot  be  cured,  must  be  endured. — Walker  (1672). 



Homo  pi'oponit,  quod  a  poete  "  and  Plato  he  hyght, 
And   Deiis  disponit^  quod   he  •  lat   God   done   his 
wille.  ; 

P.  PL  B.  xi.  36,  37.  ; 

{Hyght,  was  called.)     The  attribution  of  this  saying  to  Plato  ; 
'the  poet'  is  erroneous.     It  occurs  in  Thomas  a  Kempis,  De  ' 
Imitatione  Ch-isti,  lib.  i.  c.  19;  adapted  from  the  Vulgate: — 
Cor  hominis   disponit   uiam   suam ;   sed  Domini  est  dirigere 
gressus  eius  (Prov.  xvi.  9). 

Man  proposes,  God  disposes. — Hislop.     Cf.  D.  ii.  94. 


For    there    are    ful   proude-herted  men  .  .  . 
.  .    to  pore  peple  •  han  peper  in  the  nose. 

P.  PL  B.  XV.  197. 

(They  have  pepper  in  the  nose  ;  i.  e.  are  offended  and  cross, 
behave  angrily  ;  see  Pe-pper  in  Halliwell's  Dictionary.) 

Prendre  la  chevre,  to  take  in  dudgeon,  or  snuffe  ;  to  take  the 
pet,  or  pepper  in  the  nose. — Cotgrave,  French  Dictionary.) 
Took  it  in  snuff. 

I  Hen.  IV,  i.  3.  41. 

I  would  not  that  al  women  should  take  pepper  in  the  nose. — 
Lyly,  Euphiies,  p.  118.     Cf.  p.  375. 

For  drede  of  the  red  hat 
Take  peper  in  the  nose. 

Skelton,  Why  Come  Ye  Nat,  380, 
(The  sense  is — Lest  the  cardinal  take  offence.) 
Why,   sir,  because   I    entertained    this    gentleman    for  my 
ancient, ...  he  takes  pepper  i'  th'  nose  and  sneezes  it  out  upon 
my  ancient. — Chapman,  May-day,  Act.  iii.  {Quintiliano). 



As  who  so  filled  a  tonne  •  of  a  fresshe  ryuer, 
And  went   forth   with   that   water  •  to   woke    with 
Themese.  P.  PL  B.  xv.  331-2. 

(As  though  one  should  fill  a  tun  from  a  fresh  river,  and  go 
forth  with  that  water  to  moisten  (or  dilute)  the  Thames  there- 

Or  in  the  se  cast  water,  thynkynge  it  to  augment. 

Barclay,  Ship  of  Fools ^  ed.  Jamieson,  i.  166. 
To  cast  water  into  the  Thames.     Lumen  soli  mtittmri.—'RdLy's 
Proverbs  (Proverbial  Phrases,  s.  v.  water).     Cf.  D.  ii.  471. 


And  bothe  naked  as  a  nedle. 

P.  PL  B.  xii.  162. 
And  as  naked  as  a  nedle. 

P.  PL  B.  xvii.  56. 

It  occurs  also  in  MS.  Laud  656,  fol.  6b,  1.  2. 
She  was  naked  as  a  nedel.— Sir  T.  Malory,  Mofie  Darthur, 
bk.  xi.  ch.  I. 


Venym  for-doth  venym  •  and  that  I  proue  by  resoun. 
For  of  alle  venyraes  •  foulest  is  the  scorpioun, 
May  no  medcyne  helpe  •  the  place  there  he  styng- 

Til  he  be  ded,  and  do  ther-to  ;  •  the  yuel  he  destroy- 

eth.  P.  PL  B.  xviii.  152-5. 

(for-doth,  destroys  ;  there,  where ;  do  ther-to,  applied  to  the 
place  ;  yuel,  evil,  harm.) 


To  a  man  smitten  of  the  scorpion,  ashes  of  scorpions  burnt 
dronke  in  wine,  is  remedy. — Batman,  ir.  of  Bartholomceus,  Hb. 
1 8,  c.  98. 

The  scorpion's  sting,  which  being  full  of  poyson,  is  a  remedy 
for  poyson. — Lyly,  Et(phues,  ed.  Arber,  p.  411. 

We  kill  the  viper  and  make  a  treacle  ^remedy'X  of  him. — 
Jeremy  Taylor,  Works,  vi.  254. 

From  Pliny's  Natural  History,  bk.  xi.  c.  25.  Holland's  trans- 
lation has  : — If  a  man  be  stung  with  a  Scorpion,  and  drinke  the 
powder  of  them  in  wine,  it  is  thought  to  be  present  remedie. 

And  see  Lezard  Chalcidique,  in  Cotgrave. 

For  shal  neuere  brere  bere  •  beries  as  a  v>me, 
Ne  on  croked  kene  thorne  *  kynde  fygys  wexe. 

P.  PL  C.  iii.  28-9. 
{brere,  briar  ;  kynde,  natural ;  wexe,  grow.) 

.  .  .  shal  neuere  good  appel 
Thorw  no  sotil  science  •  on  sour  stock  growe. 

P.  PI.  C.  xi.  206-7. 
Adapted  from  Matt.  vii.  16. 
Ye  canna  gather  berries  afif  a  whinbush. — Hislop. 


That  that  rathest  rypeth  •  roteth  most  saunest. 

P.  PL  C.  xiii.  223. 

{rathest,  most  quickly  ;  saunest,  soonest.) 
Soon  ripe,  soon  rotten  (Heywood ;  Ray). 

For  timely  ripe  is  rotten  too-too  soone. 

Greene,  Friar  Bacott,  ii.  3  ;  1.  701. 
Cf.  D.i.  521. 


On  fat  lande  and  ful  of  donge  •  foulest  wedes  grow- 
eth.  P.  PL  C.  xiii.  224. 


Most  subject  is  the  fattest  soil  to  weeds. — Shakespeare, 
2  Hen.  IV,  iv.  4.  54. 

Doth  not  common  experience  make  this  common  unto  us, 
that  the  fattest  ground  bringeth  foorth  nothing  but  weedes  if  it 
be  not  well  tilled  ?— Lyly,  Euphues^  p.  ill. 


As  wroth  as  the  wynd  •  wex  Mede  therafter. 

P.  PL  C.  Iv.  486. 

(As  angry  as  the  wind  became  the  Lady  Meed  thereafter.) 
Thei   woU  be  wroth   as  the   wynde. — Richard  the  Redeles, 

iii.  153- 

Thanne  the  kyng  wax  wrothe  as  'wynde..—  Athelston  ;  in  Reliq. 
Antiguae,  ii.  95. 


When  he  streyneth  hym   to   strecche  •  the    straw   is 
hus  whitel.  P.  PL  C.  xvii.  76. 

(When  (the  poor  man  in  bed)  strains  to  stretch  himself  out, 
the  straw  is  his  blanket.) 

Whoso  streket  his  fot  forthere  than  the  whitel  will  reche 
[reach},  he  schal  streken  in  the  straw.— Quoted  by  Mr.  Riley 
[Memorials  of  London,  p.  8)  from  a  Book  of  Husbandry  attri- 
buted to  Grosteste,  Bishop  of  Lincoln.     Cf.  D.  ii.  402. 


The  biternesse  that   thow   hast   browe  •  now   brouk 

hit  thyself; 

That  art  doctour  of  deth  •  drynk  that  thow  madest. 

P.  PL  C.  xxi.  404,  405. 

{browe,  brewed  ;  brouk,  enjoy ;  That,  thou  that ;  that,  that 

SKEAT.       E.  E.  P,  £ 


Let  him  habbe,  ase  he  b;e\v,  bale  to  dryng  [drmk]. — Ballad 

against  the  King  of  Abnaigne,  pr.  in  Political  Songs,  ed.  Wright, 

p.  69. 

And  who  so  wicked  ale  breweth, 

Ful  ofte  he  mot  \imist'\  the  werse  drinke. 

Gower,  Confessio  Amantis,  bk.  iii.  1626. 

Swilk  als  thai  brued,  nov/  ha  thai  dronken. — Ctirsor  Mtmdi, 

{Swilk  als,  such  as  ;  ha,  have.) 

*  It  is  even  said  that  when  Courcelles,  the  French  minister  at 
the  Scotch  Court,  endeavoured  to  rouse  James  [the  First]  to 
some  rigorous  measures  for  his  mother's  safety,  he  replied  with 
a  coarseness  and  calmness  equally  characteristic,  that  "as  she 
brewed,  she  must  drink  "  '.—Note  to  Mrs.  Jameson's  Female 
Sovereigns,  i.  268. 

Let  him  drink  as  he  has  brewen. — Hislop.     D.  i.  438. 


Men  myghtten  as  well  have  huntyd  •  an  hare  with 
a  tabre.  Richard  the  Redeles,  i.  58. 

In  Hazhtt's  Proverbs,  we  find  :  (i)  Drumming  is  not  the  way 
to  catch  a  hare  ;  (2)  It  is  a  mad  hare  that  will  be  caught  with 
a  tabor ;  (3)  Men  catch  not  a  hare  with  the  sound  of  the  drum ; 
(4)  You  may  catch  a  hare  with  a  tabor  as  soon.  '  No  one  would 
readily  believe  that  a  hare  could  have  been  sufficiently  embold- 
ened to  face  a  large  concourse  of  spectators  without  expressing 
its  alarm,  and  beat  upon  a  tambourine  in  their  presence ;  yet 
such  a  performance  was  put  in  practice  not  many  years  back, 
and  exhibited  at  Sadler's  Wells  ;  and,  if  I  mistake  not,  in  several 
other  places  in  and  about  the  metropolis.' — Strutt,  Sports  and 
Pastivies,  bk.  iii.  c.  6.     D.  i.  688. 

You  shal  assoone  catch  a  hare  with  a  taber. — Lyly,  Enphues, 

p.  44- 

It  is  a  mad  hare  that  wil  be  caught  with  a  taber. — Id.  p.  327. 



For  as  it  is  said  •  by  elderne  dawis, 

'Ther   gromes   and   the    goodmen  •  beth    al    cliche 

Well    wo    beth    the    wones  •  and    all    that    woneth 

therin.'  Richard  the  Redeles^  i.  65-7. 

(For,  as  was  said  in  olden  days,  Where  grooms  and  house- 
holders are  all  alike  great,  very  disastrous  will  it  be  for  the 
houses  and  all  that  dwell  in  them.) 

Hwan  thu  sixst  on  leode  .  .  .  Thral  vnbuhsum, 
Athelyng  brytheling,  Lond  withuten  lawe, 
Also  seyde  Bede,  Wo  there  theode. 

Old  English  Miscellany,  ed.  Morris,  p.  185. 
(When  thou  seest,  among  the  people,  a  disobedient  thrall .  .  . 
a  nobleman  (that  is)  a  miserable  creature,  (and)  the  land  without 
law — as  Beda  said— wo  to  the  nation  !) 

Miles  sine  probitate  .  .  .  Populus  sine  lege  .  .  . 
Seruus  sine  tiniore. 

Chaucerian  Pieces,  p.  408  ;  and  see  pp.  Ixxi,  Ixxii. 


As  siphre  ...  in  awgrym. 

Richard  the  Redeles,  iv.  53. 

(Like  a  cipher  in  arithmetic.) 
And  at  the  last  thou  shalt  be  founde 

To  occupye  a  place  only, 
As  do  in  Agime  \read  Augrime]  ziphres  rounde ;  &c. 

R.  Crowley,  Select  Works,  ed.  J.  M.  Cowper,  p.  73. 
A  poor  cipher  in  agrum. — Peele,  Edw.  I,  i.   i   (in  Peele's 
Works,  ed.  Dyce,  p.  379).     Cf.  T.  Usk,  Test,  of  Love,  ii.  7.  82, 
and  note,  p.  470.    And  see  Locrine,  iv.  i.  163. 

E   2 


The  date    is  about    1375.     Ed.   Skeat   (E.E.  T.S.),    1870; 

(S.T.S.),  1893-4. 

Besides  the  three  Proverbs  quoted  below,  cf.  Hending's 
Proverbs,  st.  2,  and  Chaucer  ;  see  nos.  t^,  148,  and  176.  And 
see  no.  62. 


That  soucht  nan  othir  salss  thartill 
Bot  appetyt,  that  oft  men  takys. 

Barbour,  Bruce^  ili.  540. 

(That  sought  for  no  other  sauce  thereto  (i.  e.  for  their  meat) 
except  appetite,  such  as  often  seizes  men.) 

Hunger  is  the  best  sauce.  Appetito  non  vuol  salsa  ;  Ital. 
II  n'y  a  saulce  que  d'appetit ;  Gall.  This  proverb  is  reckoned 
among  the  aphorisms  of  Socrates.  Optimum  cibi  condimentum 
fames,  sitis  potus. — Cicero,  lib.  2  de  Finibus. — Ray.  Cf.  Horace, 
Sat.  ii.  2.  38.     D.  i.  775. 


For  men  sais  oft,  that  fire,  na  pryd, 
But  discouering,  may  no  man  hyd. 

Barbour,  Bruce .^  iv.  1 19. 

(For  men  often  say,  that  no  one  can  hide  fire  or  pride  without 

A  similar  saying  is— Love  and  a  cough  cannot  be  hid  (Hazlitt). 
See  no.  45.     D.  ii.  46. 

THE   BRUCE  53 


A  Htell  stane,  as  men  sayis, 
May  ger  weltir  ane  mekill  wane. 

Barbour,  Bruce^  xi.  24. 

{stane,  stone  ;  ger  weltir,  cause  to  be  overturned  ;  tnekillivane, 
great  waggon.) 

Cf.  A  little  leak  will  sink  a  great  ship  (Hazlitt). 

Many  little  leaks  may  sink  a  ship. — T.  Fuller,  The  Holy  State, 
bk.  i.  c.  8.  §  4.     D.  i.  918. 


This  well-known  poem,  which  may  be  dated  about  1390, 
contains  over  a  dozen  Proverbs.  My  quotations  are  from  the 
standard  edition  by  G.  C.  Macaulay,  Oxford,  1901.  In  addition 
to  the  five  here  quoted,  see  nos.  34,  56,  66,  123  above  ;  and  nos. 
I55>  189,  197,  205,  209,  226,  227  below. 


Lo,  how  thel  feignen  chalk  for  chese; 
For,  though  they  speke  and  teche  wel, 
Thei  don  hemself  therof  no  del. 

Gower,  Confessio  Ama^ttis,  prol.  416-8. 
(They  perform  no  part  (of  their  advice)  themselves.) 
He  reccheth  noght,  be  so  he  winne, 
Of  that  another  man  schal  lese, 
And  thus  ful  ofte  chalk  for  chese 
He  changeth,  with  ful  litel  cost, 
Wherof  another  hath  the  lost 
And  he  the  profit  schal  receive. — Id.  ii.  2344-9. 
{reccheth,  recks  ;  be  so,  if  only  ;  lese,  lose  ;  /os/,  loss.) 
For  thoughe  I  have  no  learning,  yet  I  know  chese  from  chalke. 
—John  Bon  and  Mast.  Person,  152  ;    in  Hazlitt,  Eng.  Popular 
Poetry,  iv.  15. 

Making  black  of  white,  Chalke  of  Chese. — Gosson,  School 
of  Abuse,  ed.  Arber,  p.  18. 

No  more  to  be  compared  to  him  than  chalk  was  to  cheese. — 
Scott,  Woodstock,  ch.  24,  §  12, 



For  specheles  may  no  man  spede. 

Confessio  A  mantis^  i.  1293. 

(For  no  man  can  succeed  by  being  speechless.) 
Cf.  Owl  and  Nightingale,  1070;  see  no.  34. 
Spare  to  speak,  and  spare  to  speed  (Heywood). 


And  so,  withoute  pourveance, 
Ful  ofte  he  heweth  up  so  hihe, 
That  chippes  fallen  in  his  yhe. 

Gower,  Confessio  A  mantis^  i.  1916-8. 

An  olde  proverbe  ...  He  that  heweth  to  hye,  with  chippes 
he  may  lese  his  sight.— T.  Usk,  Test,  of  Love,  i.  9.  19. 

Yit  wer  me  loth  ovir  myn  hed  to  hewe. — Lygdate,  Secrees  of 
Philosophres,  459. 

He  that  hews  abune  his  head  may  get  a  spail  [chip']  in  his  ee. 
— Hislop,  Scottish  Proverbs.     Cf.  D.  ii.  368. 


For  sparinge  of  a  litel  cost 
Ful  ofte  time  a  man  hath  lost 
The  large  cote  for  the  hod  \/iood\ 

Gower,  Confessio  Amantis,  v.  4785. 

For  want  of  a  nail,  the  shoe  is  lost  ; 
For  want  of  a  shoe,  the  horse  is  lost ; 
For  want  of  a  horse,  the  rider  is  lost.— Heywood. 
Spare  well  and  spend  well  (Hazlitt). 



What  he  may  get  of  his  michinge, 
It  is  al  bile  under  the  winge. 

Gower,  Confessio  A  mantis^  v.  6525-6. 

(What  he  can  get  by  his  thieving  is  all  a  bill  under  the  wing ; 
i.e.  carefully  hidden,  like  a  bird's  bill  under  its  wing.) 


The  Proverbs  quoted  by  Chaucer  outnumber  all  the  preceding 
ones  in  the  present  collection,  which  gives  all  such  as  can  readily 
be  found  in  the  works  of  his  predecessors  and  contemporaries, 
excepting  the  few  that  occur  in  his  works  also,  which  have  been 
omitted  above  in  order  to  be  introduced  below  by  way  of 

They  are  here  given  in  the  order  in  which  they  occur  in  my 
six-volume  edition  of  Chaucer's  Works  and  in  The  Student's 

The  lyf  so  short,  the  craft  so  long  to  lerne. 

Parlement  of  FoiUes^  i. 

6  jSi'of  ^paxvs,  17  §€  T€xvr)  fiaKpr], — Hippocrates,  Aphorism  i. 

Ars  longa,  uita  brevis. — D.  i.  956. 

One  may  live  and  learn  (Hazlitt). 

Art  is  long,  and  time  is  fleeting. — Longfellow,  A  Psalm  of  Life. 


Th'eschewing  is  only  the  remedye. 

Parlement  of  Foules.,  140, 

(The  avoidance  (of  love)  is  the  only  remedy  against  it.) 
Sol  fo'ir  en  est  medicine. — Roman  de  la  Rose,  i68i8. 
(To  flee  (from  love)  is  the  only  remedy  for  it.) 
Resistance  vayleth  none ; 
The  first  eschue  is  remedy  alone. 

Sir  T.  Wiat,  Song  (From  these  hie  hilles). 
{first  eschue,  avoidance  from  the  very  first.) 
Cf.  Wei  fight  that  wel  ^\gh.t.— Owl  and  Nightingale,  176. 
(He  fights  well  who  flies  well) ;  see  no.  72. 



The  jalous  swan,  ayens  his  deth  that  singeth. 

Pavlement  of  Foules^  342. 
But  as  the  swan,  I  have  herd  seyd  ful  yore, 
Ayeins  his  deth  shal  singe.  A^ielida,  346. 

.  .  .  the  whyte  swan 
Ayeins  his  deth  beginneth  for  to  singe. 

Legend  of  Good  Women^  I355-6- 

Ad  uada  Maeandri  concinit  albus  olor.—  Ovid,  Heroid.  vii.  2. 

Chanter  I'hymne  du  eigne,  To  sing  his  last. — Cotgrave,  F. 
Dictionary . 

I  will  play  the  swan,  And  die  in  vsxw^xc— Othello,  v.  2.  247. 

The  swan  sings  when  death  comes  (Hazlitt). 

Cf.  Tennyson's  poem  :  The  Dying  Swan.  And  Spenser, 
Ruines  of  Titne,  589-598. 


For  office  uncommitted  ofte  anoyeth. 

Pavlement  of  Foules,  518, 
See  no.  285,  to  the  like  effect. 


But  sooth  is  seyd,  '  a  fool  can  noght  be  stille.' 

Pavlement  of  Foules,  574. 

Sottes  bolt  is  sone  shote  (a  fool's  bolt  is  soon  shot). — 
Rending,  st.  11. 

(A  bolt  was  a  missile  shot  from  a  crossbow.) 

Sottes  bolt  is  sone  i-schote. — Proverbs  of  Alfred,  A  421. 

Fooles  can  not  hold  hir  tunge. — Rotn.  Rose,  5265. 

Ut  dicunt  multi,  cito  transit  lancea  stulti. — Proverb  (Kemble). 

Orleans,  You  are  the  better  at  proverbs,  by  how  much 
'a  fool's  bolt  is  soon  shot'. — Henry  V,  iii,  7.  132. 


Touchstone.    According  to  'the  foors  bolt',  sir,  and  such 
dulcet  diseases. — As  You  like  It,  v.  4.  67. 


There  been  mo  sterres,  God  wot,  than  a  paire. 

Parlement  of  Foules^  595. 
(There  are  more  stars  than  two.) 

There  are  more  mares  in  the  wood  than  Grisell  (Hazlitt). 
There  are  more  maids  than  Malkin  (Heywood).     D.  ii.  85. 


Qui  bien  aime,  a  tard  oublie. 

ParleTuent  of  Foules^  680. 

Qua  leli  luves  forgettes  lat. — Cursor  Mundi,  4510.    (He  who 
loves  loyally,  forgets  late.) 

Qui  bien  atjne  tard  oublie ;   Prov.    Sound  love  is  not  soon 
forgotten.  — Cotgrave,  F.  Dictiotiary. 

(See  my  long  note  on  the  passage,  in  Chaucer,   Works,  i. 


But  nothing  thenketh  the  fals  as  doth  the  trewe. 

Anelida,  105. 
A  trewe  wight  and  a  theef  thenken  nat  oon. 

C.  T.,  F  537. 
{thenken  nat  oon,  do  not  think  alike.) 

If  you  meet  a  thief,  you  may  suspect  him  .  .  .  to  be  no  true 
man. — Much  Ado,  iii.  3.  53.     See  no.  281. 

—  But  as  the  swan,  &c,  Anelida,  346. 

See  no.  137. 

And  eek  be  war  to  sporne  ageyn  an  al. 

Truth,  1 1 . 
(To  kick'against  an  awl.) 


Durum  est  tibi  contra  stimulum  calcitrare. — Acts  ix.  5 

It  is  hard  to  thee,  to  kike  ayens  the  pricke. — Wyclif's  trans- 

It  is  to  hard  to  kyke  ayen  the  spore. — Wyclif,  Select  Works, 
iii.  436,     {spore,  spur.) 


If  thou  be  siker,  put  thee  nat  in  drede. 

BuktOHy  28. 

{stker,  safe  ;  drede,  dread,  fear,  uncertainty) ;  i.e.  let  well  alone. 
Let  your  trouble  tarry  till  its  own  day  comes  (Hazlitt). 
Let  well  alone. — Proverb. 

In  venturing  ill  we  leave  to  be 
The  things  we  are  for  that  which  we  expect. — Lucrece,  148-9. 


After  greet  heet  cometh  cold ; 
No  man  caste  his  pilche  away. 

Proverbs.^  3,  4. 
{pilche,  a  warm  furred  outer  garment.) 
Take  thine  auld  cloak  about  thee. — Othello,  ii.  3  (song). 
He,  that  no  sooner  will  provide  a  cloake 
Then  when  he  sees  it  doth  begin  to  raigne. 
May,  peradventure,  for  his  negligence. 
Be  throughly  washed  when  he  suspects  it  not. 

King  Edw.  Ill,  A.  iii.  sc.  2. 


Who-so  mochel  wol  embrace 

Litel  therof  he  shal  distreyne. 

Proverbs,  7,  8. 
{mochel,  much  ;  distreyne,  hold  tight.) 


For  the  proverbe  seith,  He  that  to  muche  embraceth,  dis- 
treyneth  litel. —  Tale  of  Melibeus,  B  2405. 

Qtii  trop  embrasse,  nial  itreint. — Motto  to  Balade  by 
Deschamps,  ed.  Tarbe,  i.  132, 

Trop  ejnbrasser,  et  peu  estraigner,  to  meddle  with  more 
business  then  he  can  wield ;  to  have  too  many  irons  in  the  fire ; 
to  lose  all  by  coveting  all. — Cotgrave,  F.  Dictionary.   D,  ii.  552. 

But  as  a  wedercok,  that  turn'th  his  face 
With  every  wind,  ye  fare  ;  and  that  is  sene. 

Against  Women  Unconstant,  12. 

Hi  byeth  ase  the  wedercoc  that  is  ope  the  steple,  thet  him 
went  mid  eche  wynde. — Ayenbite  of  Inwyt,  p.  180. 

(They  are  like  the  weather-cock  that  is  above  the  steeple,  that 
turns  itself  with  every  wind.) 

Where  had  you  this  pretty  weather-cock? — Merry  Wives, 
iii.  2.  18. 

Cf.  Chaunging  as  a  vane. — C.  T.,  E  996. 


But  alday  fayleth  thing  that  fooles  wenden. 

Tr otitis^  i.  217. 

{alday,  constantly  ;  wenden,  imagined.) 

Thus  alday  fayleth   thinges   that    fooles    wende. — T.    Usk, 
Testament  of  Love,  ii.  8.  1 22. 
Hope  maketh  fol  men  ofte  blenkes. — Havelok,  307. 
(Hope  often  shows  delusions  to  a  foolish  man.) 
Oft  failyeis  the  fulis  thocht. — Barbour,  Bruce,  i.  582. 
(The  fool's  intention  often  fails.) 
Oft  expectation  fails.— ^//'i'  Well,  ii.  I.  145. 
A'  fails  that  fools  think. — Hislop.     See  no.  48. 



The  yerde  is  bet  that  bowen  vvole  and  winde 
Than  that  that  brest.  Troihis^  i.  257-8. 

[yerde,  twig,  branch  ;  bet,  better ;  brest,  breaks.) 

And  reed,  that  boweth  doun  for  every  blast 
Ful  lightly,  cesse  wind,  it  vvol  aryse ; 
But  so  nil  not  an  00k  whan  it  is  cast. 

Id.  ii.  1387-9. 

(cesse  wind,  if  the  wind  ceases.) 

It  is  the  Fable  of  the  Oak  and  the  Reed.  Mieux  vaut  plier 
que  romprc,  Prov.  Better  bow  then  breake. — Cotgrave,  F. 

To  thee  the  reed  is  as  the  oak. — Cynibeline,  iv.  2.  267. 

Flecti  non  frangi  (to  be  bent,  not  broken). 

Better  bend  than  break. — Hislop.    Cf.  D.  i.  44. 


A  fool  may  eek  a  wys  man  ofte  gyde. 

Troilus,  i.  630. 

Vn  fol  advise  bie?i  vn  sage ;  Prov.  A  foole  may  sometimes 
give  a  wise  man  counseU. — Cotgrave,  F,  Dictionary. 

If  you  will  take  a  homely  man's  advice. — Macbeth,  iv.  2.  68, 
'  Fair  and  softly  gangs  far ',  said  Meiklehose  ;  *  and  if  a  fule 
may  gie  a  wise  man  a  counsel,'  &c. — Scott,  Hea7-t  of  Midlothian, 
ch.  45. 

The  wyse  seyth,  wo  him  that  is  allone, 
For,  and  he  falle,  he  hath  noon  help  to  ryse. 

Troilus,  i.  694-5. 


Vae  soli !  quia  cum  ceciderit,  non  habet  subleuantem  se. — 
Eccles.  iv.  10  (Vulgate).  Quoted  also  in  Ancren  Riwle,  p.  252, 
and  in  P.  Plowtnan,  C.  xxi.  318. 

Homo  solus  aut  deus  aut  demon. — Burton,  Anatomy  of 
Melancholy,  pt.  i,  sec.  2,  mem.  2,  subsec.  6. 

Wo  is  him  thet  is  euer  one,  uor  hwon  he  ualleth  he  naueth 
hwo  him  areare. — Ancren  Riwle,  p.  252. 

(Wo  to  him  that  is  always  alone,  for  when  he  falls  he  has 
none  to  lift  him  up.) 


Men  seyn,  to  wrecche  is  consolacioun 
To  have  another  felawe  in  his  peyne. 

Troilus,  i.  708-9. 
For  unto  shrewes  joye  it  is  and  ese 
To  have  hir  felawes  in  peyne  and  disese. 

C  r.,  G  746-7. 

Solamen  miseris  socios  habuisse  doloris. — Marlowe,  Fausius, 
ii.  I.  42. 

Company  in  misery  makes  it  light. — Proverb  (Hazlitt). 

It's  good  to  have  company  in  trouble. — Id. 

In  misery,  it  is  great  comfort  to  haue  a  companion. — Lyly, 
Eicphues,  p.  96. 

Cf.  Milton,  P.  R.  i.  397-8. 


For  it  is  seyd — man  maketh  ofte  a  yerde 
With  which  the  maker  is  himself  y-beten. 

Troibts,  i.  740-1. 
I  was  nevir  chastisid ;   but  nowe  myne  owne  yerd 
Betith  me  to  sore ;   the  strokis  been  to  hard. 

Tale  of  Beryn,  2324. 


He  makes  a  rod  for  his  own  breech. —  Proverb  (Hazlitt). 
Tel  porte  le  baston  dont  a  son  r-egret  le  hat  on ;  Many  a  one 
provides  a  rod  for  his  own  tail,— Cotgrave,  F.  Dictionary, 

And  next  the  derke  night  the  glade  morwe ; 
And  also  joye  is  next  the  fyn  of  sorwe. 

Tr otitis,  i.  951-2. 

Clarior  est  solito  post  maxima  nubila  Phebus, 

Post  inimicitias  clarior  est  et  amor. 

After  sharpe  shoures  most  shene  is  the  sonne. 

P.  Plowman,  B.  xviii.  407-9. 
{shene,  bright ;  sonne,  sun.) 

For  aftir  mysty  cloudes  there  comyth  a  clere  sonne ; 
So  aftir  bale  comyth  bote,  whoso  byde  conne. 

Tale  of  Beryn,  ed.  Fumivall,  3955-6. 
After  grete  stormes  the  wether  is  often  mery  and  smothe. — 
T.  Usk,  Testa^nent  of  Love,  i.  5.  87. 

See  also  TroiL  iii.  1060-4  (no,  182)  and  C.  T,  A  2841  (no.  225). 
And  ioy  awakith,  whan  wo  is  put  to  flight, — Lydgate,   Temple 
of  Glas,  397, 

As  after  stormes,  when  clouds  begin  to  cleare, 
The  sunne  more  bright  and  glorious  doth  appeare. 

Spenser,  Hymn  in  Honour  of  Love,  277. 
Cf,  D,  i,  493- 


He  hasteth  wel  that  wysly  can  abyde. 

Troiljts,  i.  956. 
Be  nought  to  hasty  in  this  hote  fare, 
For  hasty  man  ne  vvanteth  never  care. 

Troihis^  iv.  1567-8. 


The  proverbe  seith : — He  hasteth  wel  that  wysely 
can  abyde ;  and  in  wikked  haste  is  no  profit. — 
C.  r.,  B  2244. 

Oft  rap  reweth  (Haste  often  rues). — Hending,  st.  ^i. 

Men  sen  alday  that  rape  reweth. — Gower,  C.A.  iii.  1625. 

Affected  Dispatch  is  one  of  the  most  dangerous  things  to 
business  that  can  be. — Bacon,  Essay  xxv. 

Stop  a  little,  to  make  an  end  the  sooner  (Hazlitt). 

The  more  haste,  the  worst  speed  [success]. — Locrine,  A.  i.  sc,  2. 
He  that  can  his  tyme  abyde, 
Al  his  wille  him  schal  bytyde. 

King  Alisaunder,  462,  429 1. 

Wel  abit  that  wel  may  tholie. — Hending,  st.  32. 

(He  well  abides  who  can  well  suffer.) 

Pacience  in  his  soule  overcometh,  and  is  nat  overcomen. — 
T.  Usk,  Testament  oj  Love,  ii.  1 1.  58. 

For  he,  that  holds  my  constancy,  still  conquers. — Beaumont 
and  Fletcher,  Island  Princess,  ii.  I. 

II  mondo  e  di  chi  ha  pazienza. — Italian  proverb. 

Cf.  Vincit  qui  patitur. 

Bide  weel,  betide  weel. — Hislop.    D.  i.  690. 


.  .  .  These  wyse  clerkes 
That  erren  aldermost  ayein  a  lawe, 
And  ben  converted  from  hir  wikked  werkes 
Through  grace  of  God,  that  list  hem  to  Him  drawe, 
Than  arn  they  folk  that  han  most  God  in  awe, 
And  strongest-feythed  been,  I  understonde. 

Troilus^  i.  1002-7. 

{aldermost,  most  of  all ;  ayein,  against ;  list,  &c.,  is  pleased 
to  draw  them  to  Himself.) 

The  greater  the  sinner,  the  greater  the  saint. 

SKEAT.     E.  E,  P.  F 



A  blind  man  can  nat  juggen  vvel  in  hewis. 

Troilus,  ii.  21. 
(A  blind  man  is  no  good  judge  of  hues  or  colours.) 
//  en  parle  comme  vn  aveugle  de  couleiirs,  He  speakes  of  it 
like  a  blind  man  of  colours,  viz.  ignorantly,  at  randome. — 
Cotgrave,  F.  Dictionary,  s.  v.  Aveugle. 

Blinde  men  should  judge  no  colours. — J.  Heywood,  Proverbs 
(ed.  1867),  p.  60  {N.  E.  D.) ;  pt.  i.  c.  5. 


In  sondry  londes,  sondry  ben  usages. 

Trotlus,  ii.  28. 
Forthy  men  seyn — ech  contree  hath  his  lawes. 

TroiltiSy  ii.  42. 
Ase  fele  thedes,  ase  fele  thewes. — Hending,  st.  4. 
(So  many  countries,  so  many  customs  ;  i,  e.  each  country  has 
its  own  customs.) 

Eek  this  countr^  hath  oon  maner,  and  another  countre  hath 
another. — T.  Usk,  Testament  0/ Love,  i.  5.  43. 

In  some  Anglo-Saxon  Gnomic  Verses  (ed.  Grein,  1.  17)  we 
find  : — efen-fela  bega,  )jeoda  and  ))eavva  ;  i.  e.  an  equal  number 
of  both  countries  and  customs. 

Tant  de  gens,  tant  de  guises,  As  many  different  natures  as 
nations. — Cotgrave.     Cf.  D.  ii.  6. 

Avysement  is  good  before  the  nede. 

Trot'his^  ii.  343. 

He  wys  is,  that  ware  ys. — Robert  of  Brunne,  Handlyng 
Synne,  8085. 


Great  acts  require  great  counsels.— Beaumont  and  Fletcher, 
Island  Princess,  i.  3. 

Good  take-heed 

Doth  surely  speed  (Hazlitt). 

Think  before  you  act. 


Lat  this  proverbe  a  lore  unto  you  be, 
'To  late  y-war,'  quod  Beautee,  'whan  it  paste.' 

Troilus^  ii.  397-8. 

(I  am  aware  of  it  when  too  late,  quoth  Beauty,  when  it  had 
passed  away.) 

Too  late  to  grieve,  when  the  chance  is  past. — Proverb  (Hazlitt). 

He  is  wise  that  is  ware  in  time  (id.). 

He's  wise  that's  timely  wary.— Hislop,     D.  i.  580. 


Of  harmes  two,  the  lesse  is  for  to  chese. 

Troilus^  ii.  470. 

{the  lesse,  Sec,  the  less  is  to  be  chosen.) 

Of  two  ills,  choose  the  least  (Heywood). 

Del  mal  el  menos. — Spanish  proverb  (Ray). 

Ex  duobus  malis  minimum  est  eligendum. — D.  ii.  752. 
When  heapes  of  harmes  do  hover  over  head, 
Tis  time  as  then  — some  say — to  looke  about. 
And  of  ensuing  harmes  to  choose  the  least. 

Miicedorus,  A.  i.  sc.  4. 

Of  euills,  needs  we  must  chuse  the  least.— Greene,  James  IV, 

V.  5  ;  1.  1759. 

How  may  ye  haue  loue  vnto  hym  whiche  is  cause  of  two  euillis  ? 
The  lasse  euyll  is  to  chese.— Caxton,  Troy-book,  leaf  59,  back. 

Of  twa  ills,  choose  the  least.— Hislop. 
F  2 



And  wel  the  hotter  ben  the  gledes  rede 
That  men  hem  wryen  with  asshen  pale  and  dede. 

Troilus^  ii.  538-9. 
[gledes^  glowing  coals  ;  wryen,  cover  up.) 

Wry  the  gleed,  and  hotter  is  the  fyr. 

Legend  of  Good  Women^  735. 

(Cover  up  the  glowing  coal,  &c.) 

Quoque  magis  tegitur,  tectus  magis  aestuat  ignis.— Ovid, 
Metam,  iv.  64, 

Le  feu  plus  convert  est  le  plus  ardant ;  The  more  that  fire  is 
kept  down,  the  more  it  burns. — Cotgrave,  F.  Dictionary. 

Fire  that's  closest  kept  burns  most  of  all. —  Two  G.  of  Verona, 
i.  2.  30. 


For  everything,  a  ginning  hath  it  nede. 

Troihis^  ii.  671. 
{nede,  necessarily.) 

All  thyngs  hath  a  begynyng.— R.  Hilles,  Commonplace  Book 
(ab,  1530).     See  N.  E.D.,  s.v.  Beginning. 
Cosa  fatta  capo  ha. — Italian  proverb. 
(A  thing  accomplished  has  a  beginning.)     D.  i,  102. 


He  which  that  nothing  undertaketh 
Nothing  n'acheveth. —  Troilus,  ii.  807-8. 
For  he  that  nought  n'assayeth,  nought  n'acheveth. 

Id.  V.  784. 


Nought  venture,  nought  have. — Proverb  (Hazlitt). 

Who  nothing  undertaketh  .  .  .  nothing  acheveth. — T,  Usk, 
Testament  of  Love,  i.  5.  86. 

Qui  ne  s'adventtire  n'a  cheval  ny  mule ;  Prov.  Nothing 
venture  nothing  have,  say  we. — Cotgrave,  F.  Dictionary. 

Things  out  of  hope  are  compassed  oft  with  venturing. —  Venus 
and  Adonis,  567.     D.  ii.  574.  U*^  ^'  -■ 

See  also  no.  189. 


They  speken — but  they  bente  never  his  bowe. 

Trotlus^  ii.  861. 

Many  talk  of  Robin  Hood,  that  never  shot  in  his  bow. — 
Proverb  (HazHtt). 

Many  speke  of  Robin  Hoode,  that  neuer  shotte  in  his  bowe. — 
The  Wellspoken  No  Body  (Ballad,  c.  1600,  quoted  by  Hazlitt). 

Mony  ane  speaks  o'  Robin  Hood  that  ne'er  shot  wi'  his  bow. 
— Hislop. 


.  .  .  Forthy,  who  that  hath  an  heed  ot  verre, 
Fro  cast  of  stones  war  him  in  the  werre. 

Trotlus^  ii.  867-8. 

{Forthy,  therefore  ;  verre,  glass  ;  war  him,  let  him  beware.) 
Fortune  his  howve  entended  bet  to  glase. —  Troil.  v.  469. 
(Fortune  meant  to  glaze  his  hood  better ;  i.  e.  to  delude  him, 

leave  him  defenceless.) 
And  Lyf  fleigh  for  fere  •  to  Fysyke  after  helpe. 
And  besoughte  him  of  socoure  *  and  of  his  salve  hadde, 
And  gaf  hym  golde,  good  woon  •  that  gladded  his  herte  ; 
And  thei  gyven  hym  agayne  •  a  glasen  howve. 

Piers  Plotvman,  B.  xx.  168-71. 
(And  Life  fled,  for  fear,  to  Physic,  to  get  help,  and  besought 

him  for  aid,  and  had  some  of  his  salve,  and  gave  him  gold, 


in  great  quantity,  that  gladded  his  [Physic's]  heart ;  and  they, 
i.e.  the  doctors,  gave  him  in  return  a  hood  of  glass— that  was  of 
no  use  at  all !) 

Si  teneis  la  cabeza  de  vidrio,  no  os  tomeis  a  pedradas  conmigo 
(if  you  have  a  head  of  glass,  you  must  not  throw  stones  at  me). 
— Spanish  proverb  (Pineda). 

That  thou  lovedst  me  thou  lete, 
And  madest  me  an  houve  of  glas. 

Debate  of  Body  and  Soul,  245. 

{thou  lete,  thou  didst  pretend;  houve  of  glas,  a  glass  hood, 
that  was  no  defence  at  all.)    Cf.  D.  i.  600. 


For  though  the  beste  harpour  upon  lyve 
Wolde  on  the  beste-souned  joly  harpe 
That  ever  was,  with  all  his  fingres  fyve, 
Touch  ay  o  streng,  or  ay  o  werbul  harpe, 
Were  his  nayles  pointed  never  so  sharpe, 
It  shulde  maken  every  wight  to  duUe, 
To  here  his  glee,  and  of  his  strokes  fulle. 

TroihiS,  ii.  1030-6. 

{upon  lyve,  alive  ;  ay  o,  always  one  and  the  same ;  werbul, 
tune  ;  to  dulle,  to  become  dull,  to  be  weary.) 

Ridetur  chorda  qui  semper  oberrat  eadem. 

Horace,  De  Arte  Poetica,  356. 

Harp  not  on  that  string,  madam. 

Richard  III,  iv.  4.  364. 
He  harps  aye  on  ae  string. — Hislop. 



Forwhy  men  seyth,  '  impression  [e]s  lighte 
Ful  lightly  been  ay  redy  to  the  flighte.' 

Troilus^  ii.  1238-9. 

(redy  to  the  flighte,  prompt  to  go  away,) 

Soon  learnt,  soon  forgotten  (Hazlitt). 

Eith  \easily\  learned,  soon  forgotten. — Hislop. 


Pandare,  which  that  stood  hir  faste  by, 
Felte  iren  hoot,  and  he  bigan  to  smyte. 

Troihis^  ii.  1275-6. 
Whyl  that  iren  is  hoot,  men  sholden  smyte. 

C.  T.,  B  2226. 
Nay,  when  ?  strike  now,  or  else  the  iron  cools. — 3  Henry 
VI,  V.  I.  49. 
Strike  whilst  the  iron  is  hot. — Webster,  Westward  Ho,  ii.  2. 
Strike  the  iron  while  it's  hot. — Hislop.     D.  i.  405. 


Through  more  wode  or  col,  the  more  fyr. 

Troilus^  ii.  1333. 

(wode  or  col,  wood  or  coal.) 
To  add  fuel  to  fire  (Hazlitt). 

That  were  to  . .  .  add  more  coals  to  Cancer  when  he  burns. — 
Shak.  Troilus  and  Cressida,  ii.  3.  206.     Cf.  no.  258.     D.  i.  463. 


...  As  an  00k  com'th  of  a  litel  spyr. —  Troilus^  ii.  1335. 

(spyr,  a  thin  blade,  small  shoot.) 

Out  of  this  grounde  must  come  the  spire,  that  by  processe  of 


tyme  shal  in  greetnes  sprede,  to  have  braunches  and  blosmes  of 
waxing  frute. — T.  Usk,  Testament  of  Love,  iii.  5.1. 

Tandem  fit  surculus  arbor  (a  twig  in  time  becomes  a  tree). — 
Motto  of  the  Marquess  of  Waterford. 


.  .  .  Whan    that  the  sturdy  00k, 
On  which  men  hakken  ofte,  for  the  nones, 
Receyved  hath  the  happy  falling  strook, 
The  grete  sweigh  doth  it  come  al  at  ones, 
As  doon  these  rokkes  or  these  milne-stones. 
For  swifter  cours  com'th  thing  that  is  of  wighte, 
Whan  it  descendeth,  than  don  thinges  lighte. 

Troilus^  ii.  1380-6. 

{sweigh,  sway  ;  doth,  &c.,  makes  it  come  all  at  once.) 

So  ofte  must  men  on  the  oke  smyte,  til  the  happy  dent  have 

entred,  which  with  the  okes  own  swaye  maketh  it  to  come  al  at 

ones. — T.  Usk,  Testament  0/ Love,  iii.  7.  99. 
A  great  tree  hath  a  great  fall.— Proverb. 

— And  reed,  that  boweth  doun,  &c. 

Troilus,  ii.  1387. 
See  no.  149. 


And  lat  see  which  of  yow  shal  bere  the  belle. 

Troihts,  iii.  198. 

{lat  s:e,  let  us  see  ;  bere  the  belle,  bear  the  bell,  take  the  lead, 
like  a  bell-wether  leading  the  flock.) 

Of  alle  the  foles  [fools]  I  can  telle  [count]. 

From  heven  unto  helle, 

Ye  tbre  bere  the  bell. —  Towneley  Mysteries,  xii.  184. 
To  bear  the  bell  (Hey wood). 


(For  later  uses  of  '  to  bear  the  bell ',  see  Brand's  Antiquities, 
Ellis,  iii.  393  ;  and  N.  E.  D.) 


The  firste  vertu  is  to  kepen  tonge. —  Troilus^  iii.  294. 
{kepen  tonge,  to  hold  one's  tongue.) 

The  firste  vertu,  sone,  if  thou  wolt  lere, 
Is,  to  restreyne  and  kepe  wel  thy  tonge. 

C.  T.,  H  332. 

Virtutem  primam  esse  puta  compescere  linguam. — Dionysius 
Cato,  Distich,  i.  3. 

Avauntour  and  a  lyere,  al  is  on. —  Troilus.,  iii.  309. 

(Avmmtour,  a  boaster  ;  al  is  on,  all 's  one.) 

Thus  hath  Avaunter  blowen  every-where 

Al  that  he  knowith,  and  more  a  thousand-fold  ; 

His  auncetrye  of  kin  was  to  Liere. 

The  Court  of  Love,  1 240-2. 

{auncetrye,  ancestry,  lineage.) 

A  boaster  and  a  liar  are  cousins-german. — Proverb. 

A  vaunter  and  a  liar  are  near  akin. — Hislop. 


For  wyse  ben  by  foles  harm  chastysed. 

Troihis,  iii.  329. 
Moult  a  beneurde  vie 
Cil  qui  par  autrui  se  chastie. 

Le  Roman  de  la  Rose,  8041-2. 
Feliciter  is  sapit  qui  periculo  alicno  sapit. — Plautus,  Mercator, 
iv.  7.  40. 

Felix  quern  faciunt  aliena  pericula  cautum. 
Be  warned  in  time  by  others'  harm,  and  you  shall  do  full  well.— 
higoldsby  Legends :  '  Misadventures  at  Margate  '  (Moral). 


And  wysdom  es,  and  feyre  maystrye 
To  chastyse  us  wyth  outhres  folye. 

Ro^.  of  Brunne,  Handlyttg  Synne,  8086. 
And  wyss  men  sayis — he  is  happy 
That  be  [by]  othir  will  him  chasty. 

Barbour,  Bruce,  i.  121. 
Better  learn  frae  your  neebor's  skaith  than  frae  your  ain.— 

Wise  men  learn  by  other  men's  mistakes  ;  fools  by  their  own 
(Hazlitt),     See  no.  263. 


Or  casten  al  the  gruwel  in  the  fyre. 

Troilus^  iii.  711. 
.  .  .  that  shente  al  the  browet, 
And  cast  adoun  the  crokk  •  the  colys  amyd. 

Richard  the  Redeles,  ii.  51-2. 
igrwwel,  gruel ;  shente,  &c.,  spoilt  all  the  broth ;  croM,  &c,, 
the  pot  amid  the  coals.) 

It  is  nought  good  a  sleping  hound  to  wake. 

Troz'/us,  iii.  764. 
It  is  evil  waking  of  a  sleeping  hound  (Heywood). 
Wake  not  a  sleeping  lion  (Hazlitt). 
Wake  not  a  sleeping  wolf. — 2  Henry  IV,  i.  2.  174. 
It 's  kittle   {dangerous]  to  wauken   sleeping  dogs. — Hislop. 
Cf.  D.  ii.  599. 

Thus  wryten  clerkes  wyse, 
That  peril  is  with  drecching  in  y-drawe; 
Nay,  swich  abodes  been  nought  worth  an  hawe. 

Troihis^  iii.  852-4. 


{perils  &c.,  danger  is  drawn  nearer  by  delay ;  nay,  such 
tarryings  are  not  worth  a  haw.) 

Dwelling  hath  ofte  scathe  wrouht. — Havelok,  1352. 

(Delay  has  often  wrought  harm.) 

Delay  is  dangerous,  and  procureth  harm. — Greene,  Alphonsus, 
iii.  2  ;  1.  975. 

Come,  come,  delayes  are  dangerous.— Otway,  Friendship  in 
Fashion,  A.  iv.  sc.  I. 

ToUe  moras  :  semper  nocuit  ditiferre  paratis.— Lucan,  Phars. 
i.  281. 

Delayes  breede  daungers,  nothing  so  perillous  as  procrastina- 
tion.— Lyly,  Euphues,  p.  65. 


The  harm  is  doon,  and — farewel,  feldefare ! 

Troilus^  iii.  861. 

Farewel,  Phippe  ! — Piers  Plowman,  B.  xi.  41. 

(Good-bye,  Philip  !  a  proverbial  and  derisive  expression, 
meaning  '  good-bye  for  ever  '  ;  or,  it 's  all  over,) 

(The  former  is  a  similar  exclamation,  meaning--'  and  may  we 
hear  no  more  of  it.'  As  fieldfares  come  here  in  the  winter 
months,  we  are  glad  when  they  go  away.) 

In  the  Roniaunt  of  the  Rose  (1.  5510),  it  is  said  of  false  friends, 
that  in  the  hour  of  your  poverty,  they  derisively  '  synge,  go 
farewel,  feldefare  I '     Cf  no.  203. 


At  dulcarnon,  right  at  my  wittes  ende. 

Troilus,  iii.  931. 

{dulcarnon,  an  old  name  for  the  forty-seventh  proposition  of 
Euclid's  first  book ;  hence,  a  hard  problem  ;  see  my  note  on 
the  line.) 


At  her  [their]  wittes  ende. — Piers  Plowman^  B.  xv.  363. 

Such  sourges  and  conflictes  of  water  arose  ageynst  them  that 
they  were  at  theyr  wyttes  endes  whither  to  turne  them. — R. 
Eden,  The  first  three  English  Boohs  on  A?nerica,  ed.  Arber, 
1885  ;  p.  140. 


For  I  have  seyn,  of  a  ful  misty  morwe, 
Folwen  ful  ofte  a  mery  someres  day ; 
And  after  winter  folweth  grene  May. 
Men  seen  alday,  and  reden  eek  in  stories, 
That  after  sharpe  shoures  been  victories. 

Troilus^  iii.  1060-4. 

See  also  Troil.  i.  951  (above);  no.  154. 

After  grete  stormes,  the  weder  is  often  mery  and  smothe. — 
T.  Usk,  Testament  of  Love,  i.  5.  88. 

Like  sunshine  after  rain. —  Venus  and  Adonis,  799. 

When  the  rayne  is  fain,  the  cloudes  wexen  clear.— Spenser, 
Shep.  KaL,  Sept.,  18.     D.  ii.  251. 


O !  soth  is  seyd,  that  heled  for  to  be 
As  of  a  fevre  or   other  greet  syknesse, 
Men  raoste  drinke,  as  men  may  often  see, 
Ful  bittre  drink  ;  and,  for  to  han  gladnesse, 
Men  drinken  often  peyne  and  greet  distresse. 

Troi'lus,  iii.  13 12-6. 

Bitter  pills  may  have  sweet  effects. — Proverb  (Hazlitt). 

When  I  was  sick,  you  gave  me  bitter  pills. —  Two  C.  of 
Verona,  ii.  4.  149. 

The  medicine,  the  more  bitter  it  is,  the  more  better  it  is  in 
working. — Lyly,  Euphiies,  p.  114. 



Here  may  men  see  that  mercy  passeth  right. 

Troilus^  iii.  1382. 

{passeth,  surpasses,  i.e.  prevails  over  justice.) 
Mercy  bothe  right  and  lawe  passeth. — T.  Usk,  Testament  of 
Love,  iii.  i.  137. 

And  earthly  power  doth  then  show  likest  God's 
When  mercy  seasons  justice. 

Merchant  of  Venice,  iv.  I.  1 96-7. 


As  grete  a  craft  is  kepe  vvel,  as  winne. 

Troilus^  iii.  1634. 

Car  la  vertu  n'est  mie  mendre 
De  bien  garder  et  de  deffendre 
Les  choses,  quant  el  sunt  aquises, 
Que  del  aquerre  en  quelques  guises. 

Le  Roman  de  la  Rose,  8300-3. 

{n^est  mie  mendre,  is  not  less  ;  aquises,  acquired.) 
Nee  minor  est  uirtus,  quam  quaerere,  parta  tueri. — Ovid,  Ars 
Amatoria,  ii.  13. 


The  newe  love  out  chaceth  ofte  the  olde. 

Troihis,  iv,  415. 

Successore    nouo     uincitur    omnis    amor. — Ovid,    Remedia 
A?noris,  462.     Quoted  by  Chapman,  Mons.  UOlive,  iii.  I. 
So  the  remembrance  of  my  former  love 
Is  by  a  newer  object  quite  forgotten. 

Two  G.  of  Verona,  ii.  4.  194. 



Netle  in,  dokke  out ;    now  this,  now  that. 

Troilns^  iv  461, 

'Nettle  in,  dock  out,  Dock  in,  nettle  out, 
Nettle  in,  dock  out,  Dock  rub  nettle  out.' 
This  charm  was  uttered  to  assist  in  curing  nettle-stings  by 
the  application  of  a  dock-leaf.     See  Notes  and  Queries,  Ser.  i, 
iii.  368. 

There  is  nothing  with  them  but '  in  docke,  out  nettle.' — Udall, 
Royster  Doyster,  ii.  3.  8. 

Off  and  on,  fast  or  loose,  in  docke,  out  nettle,  and  in  nettle, 
out  docke. — Bp.  Andrewes,  Sermons,  fol.  p.  361  (Nares). 


A  wonder  last  but  nyne  night  never  in  toune. 

Troilus,  iv.  588. 

The  greatest  wonder  lasteth  but  nine  daies.— Lyly,  Etiphues, 
ed.  Arber,  p.  205. 

Ros.  I  was  seven  of  the  nine  days  out  of  the  wonder  before 
you  came. — As  Yoti  Like  it,  iii.  2.  184. 

Glou.  That  would  be  ten  days  wonder  at  the  least. 
Clar.  That 's  a  day  longer  than  a  wonder  lasts. 

3  He7i.  VI,  iii.  2.  1 13-4. 


Fortune,  as  wel  thy-selven  wost, 
Helpeth  hardy  man  to  his  empryse, 
And  weyveth  wrecches  for  hir  cowardyse. 

Troilus,  iv.  600-2. 

[wost,  knowest ;  hardy,  bold  ;  empryse,  enterprise  ;  weyveth, 
casts  aside ;  wrecches,  faint-hearted  men.) 


Hap  helpeth  hardy  man  alday,  quod  he. 

Legend  of  Good  Women^  i773- 

Unhardy  is  unsely,  thus  men  seith. 

C.  T.,  A  4310. 

(The  coward  is  unlucky.) 

Audentes  Fortuna  iuuat. — Virgil,  Aeneid  x.  284. 
Fortes  Fortuna  adiuuat. — Terence,  Phormio,  i.  4.  26. 
Fortune  favours  the  brave  [^r,  the  bold]. — Proverb. 
Resolution  is  a  sole  helpe  at  need. — Locrine,  A.  iii.  sc.  2. 
Fortune  still  dotes  on  those  who  cannot  blush. — The  Mal- 
content^ ii.  I. 

Fortune  unto  the  bolde 
Is  favourable  for  to  helpe. 

Gower,  C.A.  vii.  4902. 
For  I  have  oft  hard  wise  men  say, 

And  we  may  see  our  sellis  \_seh'es\, 
That  Fortune  helps  the  hardie  ay, 
And  pultrones  [poltroons]  plaine  repellis. 

A.  Montgomerie,  Cherry  and  Slae,  371. 


But  manly  set  the  world  on  sixe  and  sevene. 

Ti^oilits^  iv.  622. 

{set^  stake  ;  sixe  and  sevene,  casts  of  the  dice.  The  refer- 
ence appears  to  be  to  the  game  of  hazard,  played  with  dice.  Cf. 
Cant.  Tales,  C  653  : — Seven  is  my  chaunce.) 

I  shalle,  and  that  in  hy  [haste],  set  alle  on  sex  and  seven. 
—  Towneley  Mysteries,  xvi.  128. 

I  have  set  my  life  upon  a  cast, 
And  I  will  stand  the  hazard  of  the  die. 

Richard  III,  v.  4.  9. 


What  blinder  bargain  e'er  was  driven, 
Or  wager  laid  at  six  and  seven  ? 

Butler,  Hudibras,  pt.  iii,  c.  I.  587. 

How  sholde  a  fish  with-oute  water  dure? 

TroihiS^  iv.  765. 

See  below ;  C.  7".,  A  179  (no.  211). 


For  which  ful  oft  a  by-word  here  I  seye, 
That,  '  rotelees,  mot  grene  sone  deye,' 

Troihcs^  iv.  769-70. 

{a  by-ivord,  &c.,  I  often  hear  (men)  say  a  proverb — that,  when 
rootless,  green  things  must  soon  die.) 

Why  grow  the  branches  now  the  root  is  withered  ? — Richard 
III,  ii.  2.  41. 


The  ende  of  blisse,  ay  sorwe  it  occupyeth. 

Troilus^  iv.  836. 
O  sodeyn  wo  !  that  ever  art  sticcessour 
To  worldly  blisse,  spreynd  with  bitternesse ; 
Th'  ende  of  the  joye  of  our  worldly  labour ; 
Wo  occupyeth  the  fyn  of  our  gladnesse. 

C.  T.,  B  421-4. 

{spreynd,  sprinkled,  mixed  ;  fyn,  end.) 
For  ever  the  latter  ende  of  joye  is  wo. —  C.  T.,  B  4395. 
Risus  dolore  miscebitur,  et  extrema  gaudii  luctus  occupat. — 
Prov.  xiv.  13  (Vulgate  version).    And  see  no  225. 



Lo,  Troilus,  men  seyn  that  hard  it  is 
The  wolf  ful,  and  the  wether  hool,  to  have  ; 
This  is  to  seyn,  that  men  ful  ofte,  ywis, 
Mot  spenden  part,  the  remenaunt  for  to  save. 

Troilus^  iv.  1373-6. 

{ivether,  sheep ;  hool,  whole  ;  Mot,  must ;  remenaunt,  rest.) 

You  were  better  to  give  the  wool  than  the  sheep  (Ray). 

Meglio  e  dar  la  lana  che  la  pecora  (id.). 

Lose  a  leg  rather  than  life. — Proverb  (Hazlitt). 

Yet  better  leave  of  [off]  with  a  little  losse 

Then  by  much  wrestling  to  leese  [lose]  the  grosse. 

Spenser,  Shep.  Kal.,  Sept.,  133. 
D.  i.  200. 

Men  may  the  wyse  at-renne,  and  nat  at-rede. 

Troilus^  iv.  1456. 
{at-renne,  outrun  ;  at-rede,  surpass  in  counsel.) 

Men  may  the  olde  at-renne,  and  noght  at-rede. 

C.  T.,  A  2449. 

The  eldor  mon  me  mai  of-riden 
Betere  thenne  of-reden. 

Proverbs  of  Alfred,  641-2. 

(An  older  man  one  may  more  easily  outride  than  surpass  in 

Ne  mai  no  strengthe  ayein  re±— Owl  and  Nightingale,  762. 

(There  can  no  strength  avail  against  counsel.) 

Prudens  consilio  uetus  est  uir,  tardus  eundo  (Kemble).  D.  i.  74. 

SKEAT    K.  E.P.  Q 



It  is  ful  hard  to  halten  unespyed 
Bifore  a  crepul,  for  he  can  the  craft. 

Troilus^  iv.  1457. 

{halten,  go  lame  ;  crepul,  cripple  ;  can,  knows.) 

Clocher  devant  les  boiteux,  to  show  cunning  in  the  presence 
of  those  that  are  as  skilfull  as  himselfe  ;  to  hault  before  a  cripple. — 
Cotgrave,  F.  Dictionary. 

Thou  must  halt  cunningly  if  thou  beguile  a  cripple. — Lyly, 
Euphues,  p.  318. 

It's  ill  limping  before  cripples. — Hislop.     D.  i.  736. 

— Beth  nought  to  hasty,  &c. —  Troihis^  iv.  1567. 
See  no.  155. 


Men  seyn,  '  the  suffraunt  overcometh,'  pardee, 

Troilus,  iv.  1584. 

Patience  is  an  heigh  vertu^  certeyn, 

For  it  venquissheth,  as  thise  clerkes  seyn, 

Thinges  that  rigour  sholde  never  atteyne. 

C.  T.,  F  773-5. 

Pacientes  vincunt. — P.  Plowman,  C.  xvi.  138. 

Ys  no  vertue  so  feyr  •  of  value  ne  of  profit, 

As  ys  sufifrance  souereynliche  '  so  hit  be  for  Codes  loue. 

And  so  witnesseth  the  wyse  •  and  wysseth  the  Frenshe, 

Bele  uertue  est  suffraunce  '  mal  dire  est  petite  ueniaunce ; 

Bien  dire  e  bien  suffrir  •  fait  ly  suffrable  a  bien  venir. 

P.  Plowman,  C.  xiv.  202-6. 
{suffrance,  patience  ;  so  hit  be,  if  it  be ;   wysseth,  instructeth 


us.  Bele,  &c.,  A  fair  virtue  is  Patience;  evil  speaking  is 
a  petty  vengeance  ;  to  speak  well  of  others  and  to  endure  well 
make  the  patient  man  come  to  a  good  end.) 

Suffrance  hath  ever  be  the  beste 
To  wissen  him  that  secheth  reste. 

Gower,  C.A,  iii.  1639. 
Sufiferance  breeds  ease. — Marlowe, /^w  0/ Malta,  A.  i.  so.  2. 
Ferdinand.  I  am  studying  the  art  of  patience. 
Pescara,  'Tis  a  noble  virtue. 

Webster,  Duchess  of  Malfi,  v.  2. 
Nay,  soft !   Of  sufiferance  cometh  ease. 
Sir  Clyomon  ;  in  Peele's  Works,  ed.  Dyce,  p.  524. 
Quem  superare  nequis,  pacienter  vince  ferendo. — Quoted  from 
'  the  wise  man' ;    Old  Eng.  Homilies,  Ser.  2,  p.  81 ;   which  is 
somewhat  altered  from  Dionysius  Cato,  Distich,  i.  38. 
He  that  tholes  \endures'\  overcomes. — Hislop.    D.  i.  549. 
Cf.  Virgil,  Aen.  v.  710  ;  Ovid,  Art.  Amat.  \\.  197,  Am.  iii.  11.  7. 


.  .  .  Who-so  wol  han  leef,  he  leef  mot  lete. 

Troilus,  iv.  1585. 

(He  who  wants  to  have  what  he  likes,  must  give  up  what  he 
Nought  lay  down,  nought  take  up  (Heywood). 
Nought  venture,  nought  have  (id.). 
See  also  no.  164. 


Thus  maketh  vertu  of  necessitee. 

Troilus,  iv.  1586, 
To  maken  vertu  of  necessitee. — C.  T.,  A  3042. 

...  I  made  vertu  of  necessitee. — C.  Z.,  F  593. 
G  2 


S'il  ne  fait  de  necessite  "^txin.— Roman  de  la  Rose,  142 17. 
There  is  no  virtue  like  n&CQssMy.— Richard  II,  i.  3.  278. 
To  make  a  virtue  of  necessity. — Two  G.  of  Verona,  iv.  i.  62. 
Facere  de  necessitate  uirtutem. — Hieronymus  (Jerome)  in 
Rufinum,  3.  n.  2.     Cf.  D.  i,  139. 


.  .  .  Love  is  thing  ay  ful  of  bisy  drede. 

Troilus,  iv.  1645. 
Res  est  solliciti  plena  timoris  amor. — Ovid,  Heroid.  i.  12. 
Fie !    fie !   fond  love,  thou  art   so  full   of  fear. —  Venus  and 
Adonis,  1021. 


He  is  a  fool  that  wol  foryete  himselve. 

Troilus,  V.  98. 

//  est  bien  fol  qui  s'oublie ;   Prov.     He  is  a  right  foole  that 
forgets  himself. — Cotgrave,  F.  Dictionary. 

I  am  not  mad ;    I  would  to  heaven  I  were ! 
For  then,  'tis  like  I  should  forget  myself. 

K.  John,  iii.  4.  48-9. 

— Fortune  his  howve,  &c. —  Tyoilus,  v.  469. 
See  no.  166. 


Be  we  comen  hider 

To  fecche  fyr,  and  rennen  hoom  ayeyn  ? 

Troilus,  v.  484-5. 
To  come  to  fetch  fire  (Hazlitt). 

— For  he  that  nought  n'assayeth,  &c, 

Troilus^  V.  784. 
See  no.  164. 



Ye !  farewel  al  the  snow  of  feme  yere ! 

Trot'hts,\.  1176. 

(Yea  !  farewell  to  all  last  year's  snow  !    Said  of  bidding  adieu 
to  something  that  will  not  be  seen  again.)     Cf.  no.  180. 

But,  Troilus!  thou  mayst  now,  est  or  west, 
Pype  in  an  ivy-leef,  if  that  thee  lest. 

TroihiSy  v.  1432-3. 

{est,  east ;  pype,  whistle,  blow,  i.  e.  waste  your  time  in  childish 
play ;  t^ee  lest,  it  pleases  thee.) 

He  moot  go  pypen  in  an  ivy-leef 

C.  T.,  A  1838. 

Farwel  the  gardiner !    He  may  pype  with  an  yve-lefe ;   his 
frute  is  fayled.— Usk,  Testament  of  Love,  iii.  7.  49-5°- 
But  let  his  brother  blowe[n]  in  an  horn, 
Where  that  him  list,  or  pipe[n]  in  a  rede. 

Lydgate,  Storie  of  Thebes,  pt.  ii.  §  14. 
Cf.         Absolon  may  blowe  the  bukkes  horn. 
He  n'hadde  for  his  labour  but  a  scorn. 

C.  T,  A  3387-8. 


Thinketh  al  nis  but  a  fayre, 
This  world,  that  passeth  sone  as  floures  fayre. 

Troihts,\.  1 840-1. 

For  al  is  bot  a  chirie-feire 

This  worldes  good,  so  as  thei  telle. 

Gower,  Confessio  Amantis,  Prol.  454. 


This  lyf,  my  sone,  is  but  a  chirie-faire. — Hoccleve,  De  Regimine 
Prmcipum,  1289. 

(chirie-Jeire,  a  cherry-fair,  a  sale  of  fruit  in  cherry-orchards, 
a  scene  of  thoughtless  gaiety.)    See  Dyce's  Skelton,  ii.  85. 


Hit  is  not  al  gold,  that  glareth. 

Hoits  of  Fame,  272. 
But  al  thing  which  that  shyneth  as  the  gold 
Nis  nat  gold,  as  that  I  have  herd  it  told; 
Ne  every  appel  that  is  fair  at  ye 
Ne  is  nat  good,  what-so  men  clappe  or  crye. 

C.  T.,  G  962-5. 

Non  teneas  aurum  totum  quod  splendet  ut  aurum, 
Nee  pulcrum  pomum  quodlibet  esse  bonum. 

Alanus  de  Insulis,  Parabolae. 
All  things  that  shineth  is  not  by  and  by  pure  golde. — Udall, 
Royster  Doyster,  A.  v.  sc.  I, 

All  that  glisters  is  not  gold. — Merchant  of  Venice,  ii.  7.  65. 
For  every  glittring  thing  is  nat  gold. — T.  Usk,  Testamott  of 
Love,  ii.  3.  47. 

Tout  ce  qui  luit  n'est  pas  or. — French  proverb. 
Es  ist  nicht  alles  Golt  das  da  glentzt. — Gartner,  Diet.  Prov. 
19.  51b  (Kemble). 

A 's  not  gowd  that  glitters,  nor  maidens  that  wear  their  hair 
[go  bare-headed']. — Hislop,  Scot.  Proverbs.     Cf.  D.  i.  33. 


.  .  .  He  that  fully  knoweth  th'herbe 
May  saufly  leye  hit  to  his  ye. 

Ho7iS  of  Fame,  290-1, 
{saufly,  safely ;  ye,  eye.) 

HOUSE   OF   FAME  87 

An  herbe  proved  may  safely  to  smertande  sores  ben  layd.— 
T.  Usk,  Testa7)ient  of  Love,  ii.  3.  1 1 5. 

{smertande,  smarting.) 

L herbe  qu'on  cognoist,  on  la  doit  Her  a  son  doigt ;  Those,  or 
that,  which  a  man  knowes  best,  he  must  use  most.— Cotgrave, 
F.  Dictionary,     D.  i.  936. 


And  mo  loves  casuelly 

That  ben  betid,  no  man  wot  why, 

But  as  a  blind  man  stert  an  hare. 

Hous  of  Fame ,^  679-81. 
(ino  loves,  more  love-makings  ;  ben  betid,  happen  ;  stert,  starts, 
sets  off.) 

Compare  the  Scotch  proverb  :— By  chance  a  cripple  may  grip 
a  hare. — Hislop. 

The  hare  starts  when  a  man  least  expects  it  (Hazlitt). 

— But  men  seyn,  '  What  may  ever  laste  ? ' 

Hotis  of  Fame,,  ii47- 
See  no,  224. 


For  ye  be  lyk  the  sweynte  cat 

That  wolde  have  fish ;  but,  wostow  what  ? 

He  wolde  nothing  wete  his  clowes. 

Notts  of  Fame,  1783-5. 
{sweynte,  tired  out,  lazy ;  zuostow,  knowest  thou ;  nothing,  not 
at  all ;  clowes,  claws,  paws.) 

As  a  cat  wolde  ete  fisshes 
Withoute  wetinge  of  his  cles. 

Gower,  Confessio  Amantis,  iv.  1 108-9. 

Thou  woldest  not  weten  thy  fote  '  and  woldest  fich  cacchen.— 
Pierce  the  Ploughman^ s  Crede,  405. 


Letting  '  I  dare  not '  wait  upon  *  I  would ', 
Like  the  poor  cat  i'  the  adage. — Macbeth,  i.  7.  44-5. 
Catus  amat  piscem,  sed  non  vult  tingere  plantam  (Kemble). 
The  cat  doth  love  the  fishe,  but  she  will  not  wett  her  foote. — 
Rel.  Ant! quae,  i.  207. 

Le  chat  aime  le  poisson,  mais  il  n'aime  pas  a  mouiller  la  patte 

Die  Katze  hatt'  der  Fische  gem  ;  aber  sie  will  die  Fiisse  nit 
nass  machen. — German  proverb.    D.  i.  871. 


For  who-so  yeveth  a  yift,  or  doth  a  grace, 
Do  hit  by  tyme,  his  thank  is  wel  the  more. 

Legend  of  Good  Women ^  A  441-2. 

{Do,  if  he  do  ;  by  tyme,  betimes  ;  thank,  desert.) 
Inopi  beneficium  bis  dat,  qui  dat  celeriter. — Publilius  Syrus, 
V.  235. 

Bis  gratum  est,  quod  dato  opus  est,  ultro  si  oflferas. — Id.  v.  4-|. 
Bis  dat  qui  cito  dat.     D.  i.  142. 

— Wry  the  gleed,  &c. 

Legend  of  Good  Women^  735. 
See  no.  162. 

— The  whyte  swan,  &c. — Legend^  1355- 
See  no.  137. 

— Hap  helpeth  hardy  man,  &c. — Legend,  1773. 
See  no.  189. 


Ne  that  a  monk,  whan  he  is  cloisterlees, 
Is  lykned  til  a  fish  that  is  waterlees. 

C.  T.,  A  179-80. 


Right  as  fishes  in  flod  •  whanne  hem  faileth  water, 
Deyen  for  drouthe  •  whenne  thei  drye  Hggen,  &c. 

P.  Plowman,  C.  vi.  149-50. 

Sicut  piscis  sine  aqua  caret  vita,  ita  sine  monasterio  monachus. 
— Attributed  to  a  pope  Eugenius ;  but  it  is  adapted  from  the 
Greek.  It  occurs  in  Sozomen,  Eccl.  Hist.  bk.  i.  c.  13  ;  and  still 
earlier,  in  a  Life  of  St.  Anthony  (c.  85)  attributed  to  St.  Athana- 
sius,  and  not  later  than  A.  D.  373.     And  see  no.  191  (above). 


Eek  Plato  seith,  who-so  that  can  him  rede, 
The  wordes  mote  be  cosin  to  the  dede. 

C.  T,,  A  741-2. 

The  w>'se  Plato  seith,  as  ye  may  rede. 
The  word  mot  nede  acorde  with  the  dede. 

C.  T.,H  207-8. 

Thou  hast  lerned  by  the  sentence  of  Plato,  that  nedes 
the  wordes  moten  be  cosines  to  the  thinges  of  which 
they  spekQn.—Boe^Aws,  bk.  iii.  prose  12.  151. 

Cf.  Plato,  Ttmaeus,  29  B. 

Like  word,  like  deed  (Hazlitt). 

See  also  Le  Roman  de  la  Rose,  15392. 


At  the  kinges  court,  my  brother, 
Ech  man  for  himselt.  C.  Zl,  A  1181-2. 

Every  man  for  himself,  and  God  for  us  all  (Heywood). 
Quisque  sibi  proximus. — Proverb. 

Every  man  shift  for  all  the  rest,  and  let  no  man  take  care  for 
himself;  for  all  is  but  fortune  ! — Tempest,  v.  i.  256. 


The  old  proverb — He  is  not  wise,  that  is  not  wise  for  himself. 
— Greene,  Lookinf^-glass for  London,  ii.  2  ;  1.  614. 

'  I  fought  for  my  own  hand,'  said  the  Smith,  indifferently ; 
and  the  expression  is  still  proverbial  in  Scotland. — Scott,  Fair 
Maid  of  Perth,  ch.  34.     D.  i.  825. 


We  faren  as  he  that  dronke  is  as  a  mous. 

C.  T.,  A  1261. 
Thou  comest  hoom  as  dronken  as  a  mous. 

C.  T.,  D  246. 

When  that  he  is  dronke  as  a  dreynt  [drowned]  mous. —  T/ie 
A/an  in  the  Moon,  31. 

Dronken  as  a  mouse 
At  the  ale-house. 

Skelton,  Colyn  Cloute,  803-4. 

[They]  cum  to  mattens  as  dronck  as  mys. — Letters  relating  to 
the  Suppressio7t  of  Monasteries  (Camden  Soc),  p.  133. 

And  I  will  pledge  Tom  Tosspot,  till  I  be  drunk  as  a  mouse-a. 
Old  Plays,  ed.  Hazlitt,  iii.  339. 


As,  when  a  thing  is  shapen,  it  shal  be. 

C.  r.,  A  1466. 
That  shall  be,  shall  be  (Heywood). 
Che  sera,  sera  : 
What  will  be,  shall  be. 

Marlowe,  Dr.  Fanstus,  A.  i.  sc.  i.  47. 


But  sooth  is  seyd,  gon  sithen  many  yeres, 
That  '  feeld  hath  eyen,  and  the  wode  hath  eres.' 

C.  T..  A  1521-2. 

(sooth,  truth  ;  gon  sithen,  gone  since  are.) 


Veld  haueth  ege,  and  v/ude  haueth  eare. 

Campus  habet  lumen,  et  habet  nemus  auris  acumen. 

(The  above  two  lines,  of  which  the  former  means  *  the  field 
has  an  eye,  and  the  wood  has  an  ear',  occur  together  in  MS. 
Trin.  Coll.  Camb.  O.  2.  45.)     Cf.  D.  i.  453. 

Bois  ont  oreilles,  et  champs  oeillets :  Woods  have  their  ears, 
and  fields  their  eies ;  everything  hath  some  instrument  of,  or 
help  for,  discovery.— Cotgrave,  F.  Dictionary^  s.  v.  Oeillet. 


.  .  .  Alday  meteth  men  at  unset  stevene. 

C.  r.,  A  1524. 

(For  people  continually  meet  at  a  time  not  previously  agreed 
upon;  and  therefore,  unexpected.) 

Hyt  ys  sothe  seyd,  be  God  of  heven, 
Mony  meten  at  on-sett  stevyn. 

Sir  Eglamour,  1282-3. 

Wee  may  chance  to  meet  with  Robin  Hood 
Here  att  some  unsett  steven. 

Robin  Hood  and  Guy  of  Gisborne,  in 
Percy's  Reliques  of  English  Poetry. 
These  children. 
Which  accidentally  are  met  together. 

Comedy  of  Errors^  v.  I.  360-1. 


Now  in  the  croppe,  now  doun  in  the  breres, 
Now  up,  now  doun,  as  boket  in  a  welle. 

C.  r,  A  1532-3. 
(Now  in  the  top  (of  the  tree),  now  down  among  the  briars.) 
Now  is  this  golden  crown  like  a  deep  well 
That  owes  two  buckets,  filling  one  another, 


The  emptier  ever  dancing  in  the  air, 
The  other  down,  unseen  and  full  of  water. 

Richard  II,  iv.  l.  184. 

Like  so  many  buckets  in  a  well ;  as  one  riseth,  another  falleth, 
one 's  empty,  another 's  full. — Burton,  Atiatomy  of  Melancholy, 


Did  you  e'er  see  a  well  with  two  buckets  ?  Whilst  one  comes 
up  full  to  be  emptied,  another  goes  down  empty  to  be  filled. 
— The  Malcontent,  A.  iii.  sc.  i. 


Selde  is  the  Friday  al  the  wyke  y-lyke. 

C.  7^.,  A  1539. 

(Seldom  is  Friday  like  other  days  in  the  week.) 
Fridays  in  the  week  Are  never  aleek  (i.e.  alike). — Devonshire 
proverb.     See  no.  64. 

Vendredi  de  la  semaine  est 
Le  plus  beau  ou  le  plus  laid. 

A.  Jubinal,  Recueil  des  Conies,  p.  375. 


Ful  sooth  is  seyd,  that  love  ne  lordshipe 
Wol  noght,  his  thankes,  have  no  felaweshipe. 

C.T.,A  1625-6. 

Non  bene  conueniunt  nee  in  una  sede  morantur 
Maiestas  et  Amor.— Ovid,  Metam.  ii.  846. 

Onques  Amor  et  Seignorie 

Ne  s'entrefirent  companie, 

Ne  ne  demorerent  ensemble. 

Rowafi  de  la  Rose,  8487. 


For  Love  and  Lordship  bide  no  Paragone. — Spenser,  Mother 
HubbercVs  Tale,  1026. 

Love  and  high  rule  allow  no  rivals,  brother. — Beaumont  and 
Fletcher,  Mons.  Thomas,  i.  i. 

Empire,  and  more  imperious  Love,  alone 
Rule,  and  admit  no  rivals. 

Id.  Custom  of  the  Country,  i.  i. 
Amor  e  signoria  non  vogliono  compagnia  (Love  and  Lordship 
like  no  fellowship). — Italian  proverb.     Cf.  D.  ii.  42. 


Yet  somtyme  it  shal  fallen  on  a  day 

That  fall'th  nat  eft  withinne  a  thousand  yere. 

C.  T.,  A  1668-9. 
{fallen,  happen  ;  eft,  again.) 

Hocfacit  una  dies,  quod  totus  denegat  annus.— Latin  proverb. 
It  chanceth   in   an  hour,   that   comes   not   in  seven  years. 
Accasca  in  un  punto  quel   che  non  accasca  in  cento  anni ; 
Ital. — Ray. 

There  is  a  tide  in  the  affairs  of  men,  &c. 

Jul.  Caesar,  iv.  3.  218. 
Cf.  D.  i.  371. 

— He  moot  go  pypen,  &c.— C  Zl,  A  1838. 
See  no.  204. 


Ther  nys  no  newe  gyse,  that  it  nas  old, 

C.  T.,K  2125. 

{nys,  is  not ;  £yse,  fashion ;  nas,  was  not.) 
There  is  no  new  thing  under  the  sun. — Eccles.  i.  9. 
If  there  be  nothing  new,  but  that  which  is 
Hath  been  before.— Shakespeare,  Sonnet  59. 



As  fayn  as  fowel  is  of  the  brighte  sonne. 

C.  r,  A  2437. 

{fowel,  bird  ;  sonne,  sun.) 

As  fowel  is  fayn,  whan  that  the  sonne  up-ryseth. 

C.  r.,  B1241. 

Was  never  brid  gladder  agayn  the  day. 

C.  T.,  G  1342. 

{l>nd,  bird  ;  agayn,  at  seeing.) 

As  fain  as  a  fool  [bird]  0'  a  fair  day. — Hislop,  Scot.  Proverbs. 

Thanne  was  I  also  fayne  •  as  foule  of  faire  morwe. — Piers 
Plowman,  B.  x.  153. 

(Then  was  I  as  glad  as  a  bird  is  of  a  fine  morning.) 

Compare  also : — For  there  was  never  fowl  so  fayn  of  May. — 
Troilus,  V.  425. 

As  blithe  as  bird  of  morning's  light  in  May. — Tale  of  Troy ; 
in  Peele's  Works,  ed.  Dyce,  p.  553. 

— Men  may  the  olde  at-renne,  &c. — C.  Zl,  A2449. 
See  no.  195. 


Som  tyme  an  ende  ther  is  of  every  dede. 

C.  T.,  A  2636. 

Although,  as  writers  say,  all  things  have  end, 
And  that  we  call  a  pudding  hath  his  two. 

Beaumont  and  Fletcher,  Knight  of  the 
Bttrning  Pestle,  i.  i. 

The  longest  day  hath  his  end  (Heywood). 

Compare  also  '. — as  every  thing  hath  ende. —  Troilus,  iii.  615. 

But  men  seyn, '  What  may  ever  laste  ? ' — Hous  of  Fame,  1147. 



Joy  after  wo,  and  wo  after  gladnesse. 

C.r.,  A  2841. 

Aftir  sour,  when  swete  is  com,  it  is  a  plesant  mes. —  Tale  of 
Beryn,  3688. 

{mes,  a  mess,  a  dish.) 

For  aftir  swete,  the  soure  comyth. — Id,  898. 

Cf.  no,  193  ;  and  the  following  : — 

But,  after  wo,  I  rede  us  to  be  merie. — C.  T.,  A  3068. 

— To  maken  vertu,  &c. — C.  T.^  A  3042. 
See  no.  199. 

Men  seyn  right  thus,  '  alwey  the  nye  slye 
Maketh  the  ferre  leve  to  be  looth.' 

C.  T.,  A  3392. 

(i.  e.  the  clever  one  who  is  close  at  hand  makes  the  dear  one, 
who  is  far  off,  to  be  disliked.) 

Fer  from  eye,  fer  from  herte. — Hending,  st.  27. 
He  that  is  ute  bi-loken,  he  is  inne  sone  for-yeten. — Proverbs 
of  Alfred,  B  554. 

(He  that  is  fastened  outside,  he  is  soon  forgotten  within.) 
An  old  sawe  is,  'Who  that  is  slyh 
In  place  where  he  mai  be  nyh. 
He  makth  the  ferre  lieve  loth.' 

Gower,  Cotif.  Amantis,  iii.  1899. 
Hert  sun  for-gettes  that  ne  ei  seis. —  Cursor  Mtmdt,  4508, 
Seldom  seen,  soon  forgotten. — Hislop. 
Out  of  sight,  out  of  mind. 

Quod  raro  cemit  oculi  lux,  cor  cito  spemit  (Kemble), 
Cf.  D.  i.  126. 
See  Propertius,  Eleg.  iii.  21.  10. 



Of  paramours  he  sette  nat  a  kers. 

C.  r.,A3756. 

{setfe  nat  a  kers,  valued  not  at  a  cress.) 

For  anger  gaynes  thee  not  a  cresse. — Alliterative  Poems, 


Wisdom  and  witte  now  •  is  nought  worth  a  carse. — Piers 
Plowman,  B.  x.  17. 

{carse,  a  cress,  a  plant  of  cress  ;  modern  version  '  curse  ' !) 

And  so  to  me  nys  worth  a  kerse. — Gower,  Con/essio  Amantis, 
iii.  588. 

Cf.  'Leye  ther  a  bene,'  i.e.  stake  a  bean  upon  it. — Piers 
Plowman,  C.  xiii.  92, 


He  hadde  more  tow  on  his  distaf 

Than  Gerveys  knew.  C.  Z".,  A  3774-5. 

Towe  on  my  dystaf  have  I  for  to  spynne 
More  .  .  .  than  ye  wote  of. 

Hoccleve,  De  Regimine  Principum,  1226. 

II  aura  en  bref  temps  autres  estoupes  en  sa  quenoille. — 
Froissart,  vol.  iv.  p.  92  (ed.  1574). 

In  shorte  space  he  shall  haue  more  flax  to  his  dystafie  than 
he  can  well  spynne. — Lord  Berners,  tr.  of  Froissart,  ii.  174. 

She  hath  other  tow  on  her  distaff  (Hazlitt). 


And  yet  ik  have  alwey  a  cokes  tooth. 

C  r.,A3888. 


But  yet  I  hadde  alvvey  a  coltes  tooth. 

C.  r.,  D  602. 

Young  folks  [are]  most  apt  to  love  .  .  .  the  colt's  evil  is 
common  to  all  complexions. — Burton,  Anatomy  of  Melancholy ^ 
pt.  3.  sec.  2.  mem.  2.  subsec.  i. 

Your  colt's  tooth  is  not  cast  yet. — Henry  VIII,  i.  3.  48. 

{colt,  a  young,  inexperienced  person.) 

To  have  a  colt's  tooth  in  one's  head. — Proverb. 


For  leveful  is,  with  force  force  of-showve. 

C.  r.,A39i2. 

{le^ieful,  allowable  ;  force  of-showve,  to  repel  force.) 
Vim  vi  repellere  ;  marginal  note,  in  the  Ellesmere  MS. 
Cum  vi  vis  illata  defenditur.— Cicero,  Pro  Milone,  iv.  9. 


Nede  has  na  peer. —  C.  Zl,  A  4026. 

Nede  ne  hath  no  lawe.— Z*.  Plowman,  B.  xx.  10. 
Necessitas  non  habet  legem. — Id.  C.  xiv.  45. 
But  it  is  an  olde  sayd  sawe, 
That  nede  hath  no  lawe. 

Skelton,  Colyn  Clonte,  864-5. 
Cf.  Ned  maketh  old  wif  urne  (need  makes  the  old  wife  run).— 
Owl  and  Nightingale,  (ii%.     D.  ii.  191. 


Him  boes  serve  himself,  that  has  na  swayn. 

C.  2".,  A.  4037. 

(He  that  has  no  servant,  must  serve  himself.) 
The  following  line  is  :— 

Or  elles  he  is  a  fool,  as  clerkes  sayn. 
This  implies  that  the  expression  was  proverbial. 

SKEAT.     E.E.P.  H 



The  grettest  clerkes  been  noght  the  w>'sest  men. 

C.  r,  A4054. 

The  beste  clerkes  ben  not  the  wysest  men. — Caxton,  Reynard 
the  Fox,  ch.  27. 

And.  I,  and  why  not,  sir  ?  for  the  greatest  Clarices  are  not 
the  wisest. — Grttn^,  James  IV,  iii.  2  ;  1.  1237. 

The  olde  saw  .  .  .  that  the  greatest  clearkes  are  not  the  wisest 
men. — Lyly,  Euphues,  p.  237.     D.  i.  574. 


I  have  herd  seyd,  man  sal  taa  of  twa  thinges, 
Slyk  as  he  fyndes,  or  taa  slyk  as  he  bringes. 

C.  T.,  A  4129-30. 

(A  man  must  take  (one)  of  two  things,  either  such  as  he  finds, 
or  such  as  he  brings.  These  lines  imitate  the  dialect  of  the 
North  of  England.) 

— if  this  like  you  not, 
Take  that  you  finde,  or  that  you  bring,  for  me. 

Greene,  George  a  Greene,  iv.  4  ;  1.  1002. 
If  that  like  you  not,  take  what  you  bring,  for  me. — Id.  ii.  3  ; 

1.  539- 

If  ye  dinna  like  what  I  gie  ye,  tak  what  ye  brought  wi'  ye. — 
Hislop,  Scot.  Proverbs. 


With  empty  hand  men  may  na  haukes  tulle. 

C.  T.,  A  4134- 
(tu/^e,  entice,  allure.) 

With  empty  hand  men  may  none  haukes  lure. 

C.  r.,  D  415. 


With  empty  hand  men  may  noon  haukys  lure, 
And  lyke  the  audience,  so  uttir  the  language. 

Lydgate,  Minor  Poems ^  p.  174. 
Veteri  celebratur  proverbio :   Quia  vacuae  manus  temeraria 
petitio  est. — John  of  Salisbury,  Polycratictts^  lib.  v.  c.  10. 
Haggard  hawks  mislike  an  empty  hand  (Hazlitt). 
With  empty  fist   no  man  doth  falcons  lure. — Webster,    The 
White  Devil,  ed.  Dyce,  p.  29. 

A  toom  \empty\  hand  is  nae  lure  for  a  hawk. — Hislop.  Cf.  D. 
>•  443. 

— Unhardy  is  unsely. — C.  7^.,  A  4210. 
See  no.  189. 

Him  thar  nat  wene  wel  that  yvel  doth. 

C.  r.,  A  4320. 

(He  must  not  expect  good,  that  does  evil.) 

Who  thinketh  il,  no  good  may  him  befal. — Sir  R.  Ros,  La 
Belle  Dame,  397. 

He  that  evil  does,  never  good  weines  (weens).— Ray,  Proverbs 
(1737),  p.  288. 

He  that  ill  does,  never  good  weens. — Hislop. 

He  that  doth  what  he  should  not,  shall  feel  what  he  would 
not.— G.  Herbert,  Works,  1859,  p.  327. 

Quae  enim  seminaverit  homo,  haec  et  metet.— Galat.  vi.  8  (7) ; 
in  the  Vulgate  version.     See  no.  247. 


A  gylour  shal  himself  bigyled  be. 

C.  r.,  A  4321. 

And  bygyle  the  gylour  •  and  that  is  a  good  sleithe. — Piers 
Plowman,  C.  xxi.  166. 

H   2 


That  gylours  be  bygylid  •  and  in  here  gyle  falle.— P.  P/.,  C, 
xxi.  385. 

Qui  simulat  verbis,  nee  corde  est  fidus  amicus, 
Tu  quoque  fac  simile,  sic  ars  deluditur  arte. 

P.  PL,  B.  X.  1 90-1. 
{sleithe,  sleight,  trick.    The  Latin  quotation  is  slightly  altered 
from  Dionysius  Cato,  Disticha,  i.  26.) 

Begyled  is  the  gyler  thanne. — Rom.  of  the  Rose,  5759. 
For  often  he  that  wol  beguile 
Is  guiled  with  the  same  guile, 
And  thus  the  guilour  is  beguiled. 

Gower,  Conf.  Amant.  vi.  1 379. 

Cf.  Ps.  vii.  16,  ix,  15.     D.  ii.  521. 


Sooth  pley,  quaad  pley,  as  the  Fleming  seith. 

C  7^.,  A  4357. 

{Sooth,  true  ;  quaad,  evil,  bad :  Dutch  kwaad.) 
Hold,  sir,  for  God's  sake !  now  your  jest  is  earnest. — Comedy 
of  Errors,  ii.  2.  24. 

Sooth  bourd  is  no  bourd. — Heywood. 

True  jest  is  no  jest. — Id. 

The  sooth  bourd  is  nae  bourd. — Scott,  Redgauntlet,  ch.  12. 


Wei  bet  is  roten  appel  out  of  hord 
Than  that  it  rotie  al  the  remenaunt, 

C.  T:,  A  4406-7. 

The  rotten  apple  injures  its  neighbour. — Proverb  (Hazlitt). 
Pomum  compunctum  cito  corrumpit  sibi  iunctum. — D.  i.  354. 
One  scabbed  sheep 's  enough  to  spoil  a  flock  (Hazlitt). 


A  roted  eppel  among  the  holen  maketh  rotie  the  y-zounde.  — 
Ayenbite  of  Inwyt^  p.  205. 


Lordinges,  the  tyme  wasteth  night  and  day, 
And  steleth  from  us. — C  Z!,  B  20-1. 

For  thogh  we  slepe  or  wake,  or  rome,  or  ryde, 
Ay  fleeth  the  tyme,  it  nil  no  man  abyde. 

C.  T.,E  1 18-9. 
The  tyme,  that  passeth  night  and  day,  .  .  . 
And  steleth  from  us  so  prively  .  .  . 
And  certes,  it  ne  resteth  never. 
But  goth  so  faste,  and  passeth  ay. 

Roinaunt  of  the  Rose^  369-75. 

Cito  pede  labitur  aetas. — Ovid,  Aj's  Amatoria,  iii.  65. 
Time  and  tide  wait  for  no  man  (Hazlitt). 


Biheste  is  dette. — C.  Zl,  B  41. 

(A  promise  is  a  debt.) 

And  of  a  trewe  man,  beheste  is  dette. — Hoccleve,  De  Reg. 
Princ,  1772. 
Yet  promyse  is  dette,  this  ye  well  wot. — Everyman,  1.  821. 


For  swiche  lawe  as  man  yeveth  another  wight. 
He  sholde  him-selven  usen  it  by  right. 

C.  T.,  B  43-4. 

Patere  legem  quam  ipse  tulisti. — Latin  proverb. 

El  que  ley  establece,  guardarla  debe.— Spanish  proverb. 


In  commune  iubes  si  quid  censesue  tenendum, 

Primus  iussa  subi. 

Claudian,  Fourth  Consulate  of  Honorius^  296. 
They  that  make  laws  must  not  break  them  (Hazlitt). 
Law-makers  shouldna  be  law-breakers. — Hislop. 


If  thou  be  povre,  thy  brother  hateth  thee, 
And  alle  thy  frendes  fleen  fro  thee,  alas  ! 

C.  T.,  B  1 20-1. 

And  if  thy  fortune  change,  that  thou  wexe  povre, 

farewel  freendshipe  and  felaweshipe  ! — C.  Zl,  B  2749. 

Fratres   hominis   pauperis  oderunt   eum  ;    insuper  et  amici 
procul  recesserunt  ab  eo. — Prov.  xix.  7  (Vulgate). 

Donee  eris  felix,  multos  numerabis  amicos, 
Tempera  si  fuerint  nubila,  solus  eris. 

Ovid,  Trist.  i.  9.  5. 
Cf.  Ecclus.  vi.  12  ;  and  no.  254. 

— O  sodeyn  wo! — C.  Z!,  B  421. 
See  no.  193. 


Ther  dronkenesse  regneth  in  any  route, 
Ther  is  no  conseil  hid,  withouten  doute. 

C.  T.,  B  ^'j^-T. 

Ther  is  no  privetee  ther- as  regneth  dronkenesse. 

Tale  of  Melibetis,  B  2384. 
For  dronkenesse  is  verray  sepulture 
Of  mannes  wit  and  his  discrecioun. 

c  r.,  c  558-9. 


Nullum   secretum   est  ubi  regnat  ebrietas. — Prov.   xxxi.    4 
(Vulgate  ;  not  in  A.  V.). 

Quid  non  ebrietas  designat  ?  Operta  recludit. — Horace,  Ep. 
.  5.  16. 

What  soberness  conceals 
Drunkenness  reveals  (Hazlitt). 
Also  \n  Cursor  Mimdi,  7229.     D.  ii.  486. 

—As  fowel  is  fain,  &c.—  C.  T.,  B  1241. 

See  no.  223. 


For  sely  child  wol  alday  sone  lere. — C.  T.,  B  170a. 

Sely  child  is  sone  ylered.— Hending,  st.  9. 

For  sell  child  is  sone  ilered. — Life  of  Beket,  158. 

{sely,  good,  forward ;  alday,  always  ;  sofie  lere,  soon  learn ; 
ylered,  taught.) 

Gude  bairns  are  eith  to  lear  [good children  are  easy  to  teach]. — 

Compare  the  following  : — 

Luef  child  lore  byhoueth.— Hending,  st.  5. 

(Teaching  is  necessary  for  a  beloved  child.) 

The  leuere  childe  •  the  more  lore  bihoueth.— /*.  Plowman, 
B.  V.  38. 

{leuere,  dearer.)     See  Prov.  xiii.  24. 


Mordre  wol  out.— C  T.,  B  1766,  4242. 

For-thi  men  sais  into  this  tyde, 
Is  no  man  that  murthir  may  hide. 

Cursor  Mundi,  1083-4. 


I  drede  mordre  wolde  come  out. — Skelton,  Boivge  of  Courte, 

Murder  cannot  be  hid  long. — Merchant  of  Venice,  ii.  2.  83. 

I  feared  as  much  ;  murder  cannot  be  hid. — Marlowe,  Edw.  II, 
A.  V.  so.  6. 

Other  sins  only  speak ;  murder  shrieks  out. — Webster,  Duchess 
of  Malfi,  iv.  2. 

Murder,  I  see,  cannot  be  hid. — Webster,  Westward  Ho,  v.  4. 

Cf.  Ther  may  no  man  hele  \conceaI\  murdir,  that  it  [ne]  woll 
out  atte  last. — Tale  of  Beryn,  2293. 


Yvel  shal  have,  that  yvel  wol  deserve. 

C.  r.,  B  1822. 

Cf.  Ne  the  vyces  no  ben  nevermo  vvithoute  "^tyne.—Boethius, 
bk.  iv.  prose  I.  ^y. 

.  .  .  medes  to  goode  men,  and  torments  to  wikked  men. — 
Boethms,  bk.  v.  prose  6.  212. 

Ne  ec  ne  scule  ye  nefre  ufel  don  thet  ye  hit  ne  sculen  mid 
uuele  bitter  abuggen  (nor  moreover  shall  ye  ever  do  any  evil 
without  bitterly  expiating  it  by  suffering). — Old  English  Homilies, 
ed.  Morris,  Ser.  i,  p.  41. 

Ill  be  to  him  that  so  much  ill  bethinks. — Peele,  Battle  of 
Alcazar,  A.  v.  prol.  1.  i. 

See  above,  no.  236. 


The  commune  proverbe  seith  thus — '  He  that  sone 
demeth,  sone  shal  repente.' — C.  T.,  B  2220. 

The  corresponding  Latin  text  has  : — Ad  poenitendum  properat 
qui  cito  iudicat. — Publilius  Syrus,  Sententiae  (1880),  32. 


Compare  the  Scotch  proverb: — Dame,  deem  warily,  ye 
watna  wha  wytes  yoursel  [you  kncnv  not  who  blames yourselJ\ — 

— Whyl  that  iron  is  hoot,  &c.— C  T.,  B  2226. 

See  no.  169. 

—He  hasteth  wel,  &c.— C  T.,  B  2244. 
See  no.  156. 


Three  thinges  dry  ven  a  man  out  of  his  hous  :  that  is 
to  seyn,  smoke,  dropping  of  reyn,  and  wikked  wyves. 

C.  T.,  B  2276. 

Thow  seyst  that  dropping  houses,  and  eek  smoke, 
And  chyding  wyves,  maken  men  to  flee 
Out  of  hir  owene  hous. — C.  T.,  D  278-80. 

Tria  sunt  enim  quae  non  sinunt  hominem  in  domo  permanere ; 
fumus,  stillicidia,  et  mala  uxor. — Innocens  Papa,  De  contempitt 
inundi,  i.  18.     (Compiled  from  Prov.  x.  26,xix.  13,  and  xxvii.  15.) 

Ac  thre  thynges  ther  beoth  "  that  doth  a  man  to  sterte 

Out  of  his  owene  hous  '  as  holy  writ  sheweth. 

That  on  is  a  wikkede  wif  •  that  wol  nat  be  chasted  ; 

Hure  fere  fleeth  fro  huere  •  for  fere  of  huere  tounge. 

And  yf  hus  hous  be  vnheled  •  and  reyne  on  hus  bedde, 

He  seketh  and  seketh  •  til  he  slepe  drye. 

Ac  when  smoke  and  smorthre  •  smit  in  hus  eyen, 

Hit  doth  hym  wors  than  hus  wyfe  '  other  wete  to  slepe. 

P.  Plowman,  C.  xx.  297-304. 

{beoth,  be ;  doth,  cause  ;  sterte,  start,  go  ;   that  on,  the  one ; 

chasted,  rebuked  ;  Hure  fere,  Her  mate  ;  huere,  her ;  vnheled, 

untiled ;    reyne,   it   rains ;    smorthre,   smother,   vapour ;    smit, 

smiteth  ;  doth,  makes  ;  other  wete,  or  wetness.) 


Fumus,  et  mulier,  et  stillicidia  Expellunt  hominem  a  domo 
propria. — W.  Mapes,  ed.  Wright,  p.  83. 

Sunt  tria  dampna  domus,  imber,  mala  femina,  fumus. — 

Smoke,  rain,  and  a  very  curst  wife 
Make  a  man  weary  of  house  and  life. 

Quoted  by  Hazlitt. 
I  think  'tis  lyke  to  a  curst  wyfe  in  a  lytle  house,  that  never 
leaves  her  husband  till  she  have  driven  him  out  at  doores  with 
a  wet  paire  of  eyes. — Arden  of  Fever  sham,  iv.  2.  12. 

A  house  wi'  a  reek  [smoke]  and  a  wife  wi'  a  reard  [loud  voice] 
will  mak  a  man  rin  to  the  door. — Hislop.     Cf.  D.  i.  303. 

— Ther  is  no  privitee,  &c. — C.  T.^  B  2384. 
See  no.  244. 


And  Salomon  seith,  '  if  thou  hast  founden  hony, 
ete  of  it  that  suffyseth ;  for  if  thou  ete  of  it  out  ot 
mesure,  thou  shalt  spewe.' — C.  Zl,  B  2606. 

From  Prov.  xxv.  16. 

The  man  that  moche  hony  eteth  •  his  mawe  it  engleymeth. 
—P.  PL,  B.  XV.  56. 

(i.  e.  too  much  honey  cloys  the  stomach.) 

There  is  no  surfeit  so  dangerous  as  that  of  honey. — Lyly, 
Alexander  and  Campaspe,  ii.  2. 

— And  if  thy  fortune  change,  &c. —  C.  7".,  B  2749. 

See  no.  243. 


.  .  .  right  as  men  seyn,  that  Over-greet  hoomlinesse 
engendreth  dispreisinge. — C.  Z".,  B  2876. 

As  muche  familiaritie  oftentimes  breeds  contempt. — Minsheu, 


Dialogues  in  Spanish  and  English  (1623),  p.  65  (misnumbered 


I  hope,  upon  familiarity  will  grow  more  contempt. — Slender, 
in  Merry  Wives,  i.  i.  257. 


The  prophete  seith,  that  troubled  eyen  han  no  cleer 
sighte.— C.  r.,  B  2891. 

A  T<ril  malade  la  lumilre  nuit,  an  eie  distempered  cannot 
brook  the  light ;  sick  thoughts  cannot  endure  the  truth. — 
Cotgrave,  F.  Dictionary. 


Ful  oft  in  game  a  sooth  I  have  herd  seye. 

C.  7:,B3i54. 

Many  a  true  word  is  spoken  in  jest  (Hazlitt).     See  no.  238. 


For  what  man  that  hath  freendes  through  fortune, 
Mishap  wol  make  hem  enemies,  I  gesse ; 
This  proverbe  is  full  sooth  and  ful  commune. 

C.  T.,  B  3434-6. 

Cf.  Certes,  swiche  folk  as  weleful  fortune  maketh   freendes, 
contrarious  fortune   maketh    hem    enemys.— Chaucer,    tr.    of 
Boethius,  bk.  iii.  prose  5.     Cf.  Prov.  xix.  4  ;  Ecclus.  vi.  12. 
In  time  of  prosperity,  friends  will  be  plenty ; 
In  time  of  adversity,  not  one  among  twenty. 

Howell ;  quoted  by  Hazlitt. 

When  we  want,  friends  are  scant. — Hislop.     See  no.  243. 



But  ay  fortune  hath  in  hir  hony  galle. 

C.  7^.,B3537. 

The  wordes  of  Ovide,  that  seith — '  under  the  hony  of  the  godes 
of  the  body  is  hid  the  venim  that  sleeth  the  soule.' — C.  T., 
B  2605. 

Impia  sub  dulci  melle  uenena  latent.— Ovid,  Amor.  i.  8.  104. 

Hir  galle  is  hid  under  a  sugred  wede. — Lydgate,  A  Balade 
warning  Men,  26. 


Mtther  est  hominis  con/usi'o.—  C.  7".,  B  4354. 

It  that  wommen  were  nat  goode  .  .  .  our  Lord  God 
of  hevene  wolde  never  han  wroght  hem,  ne  called  hem 
help  of  man,  but  rather  confusioun  of  man. — C.  Z'., 
B  3295-6. 

Mulier,  &c.,  occurs  in  Vincent  of  Beauvais,  Speculum 
Historiale,  x.  71. 

A  woman,  as  saith  the  philosofre,  is  the  confusioun  of  man, 
insaciable,  &c. — Dialogue  of  Creatures,  cap.  cxxi. 

— For  ever  the  latter  ende,  &c. —  C.  T.^  B  4395. 
See  no.  193. 


Wommennes  counseils  ben  ful  ofte  colde. 

C.  Z:,  B  4446. 

{colde,  i.  e.  baneful,  fatal.) 


Eek  som  men  han  seyd,  that  '  the  conseillinge  of 
wommen  is  outher  to  dere,  or  elles  to  litel  of  prys.' 
—  C.  T.,  B  2386. 

Cold  red  is  quene  red  (cold  advice  is  women's  advice). — 
Proverbs  of  Alfred,  A  336. 

Kold  eru  opt  kvenna-rd6  (cold,  i.  e.  fatal,  are  often  women's 
counsels). — Icelandic  Proverb.     Cf.  D.  i.  486. 


For  wyne  and  youthe  doon  Venus  encrese, 
As  men  in  fyr  wol  casten  oile  or  grece. 

C.  T.,  C  59-60. 

But  wine,  alas!  was  oil  to  th'  fire.— Cowley,  The  Mistress: 
The  Incurable,  st.  4. 

Ase  oyle  other  grese  alighteth  and  strengtheth  thet  uer. — 
Ayenbite  of  Inivyt,  p.  205. 

(As  oil  or  grease  brightens  and  strengthens  the  fire.) 

To  cast  oil  into  the  fire  is  not  the  way  to  quench  it.— Proverb. 

Vina  parant  animos,  faciuntque  caloribus  aptos. — Ovid,  Ars 
Amat.  i.  237.     Oleum  adde  camino. — Horace,  Sat.  ii.  3.  321. 


A  theef  of  venisoun,  that  hath  forlaft 
His  likerousnesse,  and  al  his  olde  craft, 
Can  kepe  a  forest  best  of  any  man. 

c.  r.,  c  83-5. 

{forlaft,  given  up  ;  likerousnesse,  greedy  appetite.) 

Set  a  thief  to  take  a  thief  (Ray). 

There  is  no  warier  keeper  of  a  park, 
To  prevent  stalkers  or  your  nightwalkers, 
Than  such  a  man  as  in  his  youth  hath  been 
A  most  notorious  deer-stealer. 

Webster,  The  Devil's  Law-case,  i.  2. 



Under  a  shepherd  softe  and  negligent 

The  wolf  hath  many  a  sheep  and  lamb  to-rent. 

C.  T.,C  loi-a. 

Hoow  !   hurde  !   wher  is  thyn  hounde  '  and  thyn  hardy  herte 
For  to  wyrie  the  wolf  •  that  thy  woolle  fouleth  ? 

P.  Plowman,  C.  x.  267-8. 
{to-rent.,  rent  in  pieces  ;  hurde,  shepherd  ;  wyrie,  worry.) 
Sub  molli  pastore  capit  lanam  kipus,  et  grex 
Incustoditus  dilaceratur  eo. 

Alanus  de  Insulis,  Liber  Par abol arum,  i.  31. 

So  flies  the  reckless  shepherd  from  the  wolf. — 3  Henry  VI, 
V.  6.  7. 

— For  dronkenesse,  &c. —  C.  T.^Q  558. 

See  no.  244. 


And  lightly  as  it  comth,  so  wol  we  spende. 

C.  T.,  C  781. 

Ce  qui  est  venu  par  la  fieute  s'en  retourne  avec  le  tabourin, 
that  the  pipe  hath  gathered,  the  tabour  scattereth ;  goods  ill 
gotten  are  commonly  ill  spent. — Cotgrave,  F.  Dictionary. 

Lightly  come,  lightly  go. — Proverb. 

Wie  gewonnen,  so  zerronnen. — German. 

Tis  gone,  Doll,  tis  flown  ;  merely  ^merrily'X  come,  merely 
gon. — Life  of  Sir  John  Oldcastle,  A.  iii.  sc.  3. 

Male  partum  male  disperit. — Plautus,  Poenulus,  iv.  2.  22. 

Soon  gotten,  soon  spent. — Hislop. 


For  peril  is  bothe  fyr  and  tow  t'assemble. 

C.  T.,  D  89. 


But  of  wymmen  hyt  ys  grete  wundyr, 
Hyt  fareth  wyth  hem  as  fyre  and  tundyr. 

Rob.  of  Brunne,  Handlyfig  Synne,  7924. 
{hem,  them  ;  tundyr,  tinder.) 
Fire  is  not  to  be  quenched  with  tow. — Hazlitt. 
When  the  man  's  fire  and  the  wife  's  tow,  the  deil  comes  in  and 
blaws  't  in  lowe  [Jlcwie}. — Hislop. 

Flame  and  flaxe  !    flame    and    flaxe  ! — Life   of  Sir  John 
Oldcastle,  A.  ii.  sc.  2. 

Meale  and  salt,  wheat   and  mault,  fire  and  tow,  frost  and 
snow  ! — Id.^  A.  iii.  sc.  2.     D.  i.  460. 


Who-so  that  nil  be  war  by  other  men^ 
By  him  shal  othere  men  corrected  be. 

C.  r.,  D  180-1. 

Qui  per  alios  non  corrigitur,  alii  per  ipsum  corrigentur. — 
Marginal  note  in  MS. 

Who-so  nul  by  othir  beo  chast, 
Overthrowe  he  schal  in  hast. 

King  Alisaunder,  3039. 
They  beon  worthy  to  have  care 
That  nulleth  by  othre  beo  war. — Id.  3029. 
See  no.  176. 

— Thou  comest  hoom  as  dronken,&c. — C.  71,  D  246, 
See  no.  214. 


Ne  noon  so  gray  goos  goth  ther  in  the  lake, 

As,  seistow,  that  wol  been  withoute  a  make. 

C.  T.,  D  269-70. 
{seistow,  sayest  thou ;  7nake,  mate.) 


Every  Jack  must  have  his  Jill. — Proverb  (Hazlitt). 

Every  Jack  will  find  a  Gill. — Scott,  Sf,  Ronan^s  Well,  ch.  2. 

Joan's  as  good  as  my  lady  in  the  dark  (Hazlitt.). 

— Thow  seyst  that  dropping  houses,  &c, 

C.  r.,D278. 

See  no.  249. 


The  wyse  astrologien  Dan  Ptholome 
That  seith  this  proverbe  in  his  Almageste, 
'  Of  alle  men  his  wisdom  is  th'  hyeste, 
That  rekketh  never  who  hath  the  world  in  honde.' 

C.  T.,  D  324. 

Inter  omnes  altior  existit  qui  non  curat  in  cuius  manu  sit 
mundus. — (Written  in  the  margin  of  the  Ellesmere  MS.  opposite 
the  above  passage.) 

Inter  homines  hie  est  altior  qui  non  curat  in  cuius  manu  sit 
mundus. — Higden,  PolycJironicon,  v.  26.  {Mundtfs,  the  wealth 
of  this  world.  The  proverb  refers  to  the  contented  man,  who  is 
not  envious  of  the  rich.) 


Who-so  that  first  to  mille  comth,  first  grint. 

C.  7;,  D  389. 

(He  first  grinds,  who  comes  first  to  the  mill.) 

Ante  molam  primus  qui  venit,  non  molat  imus. — Proverb. 

Qui  premier  arrive  au  inotilin,  le  premier  doit  mouldre  ; 
Prov.  The  first  comer  is  to  be  served  first. — Cotgrave,  F.  Diet., 
s.  V.  Mouldre. 

First  come,  first  served. — Proverb. 



Deceite,  weping,  spinning  God  hath  yive 
To  woramen  kindely,  whyl  they  may  live. 

C.  T.,  D  401-2. 

{yive^  given  ;  kindely^  by  nature.) 

Fallere,  flere,  nere  dedit  Deus  in  muliere. — Marginal  note 
in  MS. 

Ut  flerent  oculos  erudiere  suos.— Ovid,  Rem.  Am,  690. 

Women,  of  kinde,  have  condicions  three ; 
The  first  is,  that  they  be  fulle  of  deceit  ; 
To  spinne  also  it  is  hir  propertee  ; 
And  women  have  a  wonderful  conceit. 
They  wepen  oft,  and  al  is  but  a  sleight. 

Lydgate,  Of  Deceitful  Women,  29-33. 
Cf.  Puttenham,  Arte  of  English  Poesie,  bk.  i.  ch.  7.    D.  ii.  608. 


Winne  who-so  may,  for  al  is  for  to  selle. 

C.  T.,  D  414. 

Everything  has  its  price. 

—With  empty  hand,  &c.— C.  T.,  D  415. 
See  no.  235. 


...  In  his  owene  grece  I  made  him  frye 
For  angre,  and  for  verray  jalousye. 

C.  T.,  D  487-8. 
Beter  it  is  that  we  out  renne 
Thenne  as  wrehches  in  house  to  brenne, 
And  frye  inne  oure  owne  gres  ! 

Richard  Coer  de  Lion,  4407-9. 
(out  renne,  run  out  ;  Thenne,  than  ;  brenne,  burn.) 

SKEAT.     E.  E.  r.  J 


Thus  is  he  fryed  in  his  owene  gres, 
To-rent  and  torn  with  his  owene  rage. 

Lydgate,  Temple  of  Glas\  ed.  Schick,  p.  14. 

{To'Venty  rent  in  pieces  ;  ivith^  by.) 
She  fryeth  in  hir  owne  grease,  but  as  for  my  parte, 
If  she  be  angry,  beshrew  her  angry  harte. 

Heywood,  pt.  i.  c.  11  ;  quoted  by  Hazhtt,  p.  416. 


I  holde  a  mouses  herte  nat  worth  a  leek, 
That  hath  but  oon  hole  for  to  sterte  to ; 
And  if  that  faille,  thanne  is  al  y-do. 

C.  T.,  D  572.4. 

Mus  miser  est   antro  qui   tantum  clauditur  uno. — Kemble, 
Salomon,  p.  57. 

Moult  a  soris  povre  secors, 
Et  fait  en  grant  peril  sa  druge. 
Qui  n'a  c'ung  partuis  k  refuge. 

Roman  de  la  Rose,  13354. 

{soris,  mouse  ;  druge,  retreat ;  partuis,  hole.) 

The  mouse  that  hath  but  one  hole  is  easily  taken. — Proverb. 

It's  a  sairy  mouse  that  has  but  ae  hole. — Hislop.    D.  i.  384. 


Who  so  that  buildeth  his  hous  al  of  salwes, 
And  prikketh  his  blinde  hors  over  the  falwes, 
And  suffreth  his  wyf  to  seken  halwes, 
Is  worthy  to  been  hanged  on  the  galwes. 

C.  T.,  D  655-8. 


Who  that  byldeth  his  hovvse  all  of  salos, 
And  prikketh  a  blynde  horse  over  the  falowes, 
And  sufifereth  his  wif  to  seke  many  halos, 
God  sende  hym  the  blisse  of  everlasting  galos ! 

Reliquiae  Antiquae^  i.  233. 

{salos,  salwes,  willow  trees  ;  falwes,  fallow-lands  ;  seke  halos, 
seek  saints,  go  on  pilgrimages.) 

Non  des  .  .  .  mulieri  nequam  ueniam  prodeundi. — Ecclus.  xxv. 
34  (Vulgate);  25  (A.  V.) 


For  though  this  Somnur  wood  were  as  an  hare. 

a  7;,  D  1327. 

[wood,  mad.) 

As  mad  as  a  March  hare. — Proverb. 

And  be  as  braynles  as  a  Marshe  hare. — Colyn  BloboVs 
Testatnent,  303  ;  in  Hazlitt,  Popular  Poetry,  i.  105. 

Are  not  midsomer  hares  as  mad  as  march  hares  ? — Heywood, 
Epigrams,  2nd  Hundr.  1562,  95. 

(No ;  they  are  wildest  in  March,  during  the  breeding  season.) 

I  spare  nat  to  taken,  God  it  woot, 
But- if  it  be  to  hevy  or  to  hoot, 
What  I  may  gete  in  conseil    prively. 

C.  T.,  D  1435-7. 

{But-if,  unless  ;  to  hoot,  too  hot  to  hold.) 

A  taker  and  a  bribing  [robbing]  feloe,  and  one  for  whom 
nothing  was  to  hotte  nor  to  heauie. — Udall,  Apophthegmes  ; 
Cicero,  §  50. 

I    2 


Their  loues  they  on  the  tenter-hookes  did  racke, 
Rost,  boy  I'd,  bak'd,  too  too  much  white,  claret,  sacke, 
Nothing  they  thought  too  heauy  nor  too  hot, 
Canne  followed  canne,  and  pot  succeeded  pot. 

John  Taylor,  Pennilesse  Pilgrimage, 
II  ne  trouve  rien  trap  chaud,  ny  trap  pesant. — Cotgrave, 
s.  V.  Chaud. 

Ne  laissoient  riens  a  prendre,  s'il  n'estoit  trop  chaud,  trop 
froid,  ou  trop  pesant. — Froissart,  Chr07i.,  vol.  i.  c.  229. 

Nothing  was  to  hot,  nor  to  deere  for  me. — Puritain  IVidowe, 
A.  I.  sc.  I. 


Thou  shalt  me  finde  as  just  as  is  a  squire. 

C.  T.,T>  2090. 

{as  just,  &c.  ;  as  exact  as  is  a  measuring-square.) 

Cf.  By  compas  cast,  and  squared  out  by  squyers. — Lydgate, 

Siege  of  Troye,  ed.  1555,  fol.  F  5,  back,  col.  I. 
A  Vesquierre,  justly,  directly,  evenly,  straightly  ;  by  line  and 

levell,  to  a  haire. — Cotgrave,  F.  Dictionary. 


For  what  man  that  is  entred  in  a  play, 
He  nedes  moot  unto  the  play  assente. 

C  T:,  Eio-ii. 

Ki  en  jeu  entre  jeu  consente  (He  who  enters  into  a  game, 
approves  of  it). — Le  Roux  de  Lincy,  Proverbes  Frangais,  ii.  85. 

'  Play  the  game ',  i.  e.  play  fairly. 

Compare  the  Scotch  proverb : — Every  play  maun  be  played, 
and  some  maun  be  the  players. — Hislop. 

In  D.  ii.  380,  the  Dutch  equivalent  is — Die  in  het  spel  komt, 
moet  spelen  (He  who  comes  to  the  game,  must  play). 


— For  thogh  we  slepe  or  wake,  &c. — C.  Zl,  E  118, 

See  no.  240. 


Be  ay  of  chere  as  light  as  leef  on  llnde, 

C.  T.,E  121 1 

Was  neuere  leef  upon  lynde  •  lighter  ther-after. — P.  PL,  B. 

i.  154. 

(leefe  7ipon  lynde,  leaf  on  a  linden  tree  or  lime-tree.) 

Ther  nas  no  lynde  so  liht  *  as  these  two  ItodQS.— Joseph  of 

Arimathie,  ed.  Skeat,  1.  585. 
{nas,  was  not ;  leodes,  persons,  men.) 
Cf.  lyghte  as  lynde.— Skelton,  Bowge  of  Court,  231. 
I   am  als  light  as  birde  on  bowe  (as  happy  as  a  bird  on 

a  bough). —  York  Plays,  xxv.  388. 


For,  God  it  woot,  he  sat  ful  ofte  and  song 
Whan  that  his  shoo  ful  bitterly  him  wrong. 

C.  T.,  D  4«2. 

But  I  wot  best  wher  wringeth  me  my  sho. 

C.  T.,  E  1553. 

{song,  sang  ;  shoo,  sho,  shoe  ;  wrong;  wrung,  pinched.) 
Legimus  quendam  apud  Romanes  nobilem,  cum  eum  amici 
arguerent  quare  uxorem  formosam  et  castam  et  diuitem  repu- 
diasset,  protendisse  pedem,  et  dixisse  eis  :  Et  hie  soccus  quem 
cernitis  uidetur  uobis  nouus  et  elegans,  sed  nemo  scit  praeter 
me  ubi  me  premat. — Hieronimus,  contra  louiniaiium,  lib.  i. 
Epist.  ii.  52  (Basil.  1524). 
I  know  best  where  the  shoe  wringeth  me  (Hazlitt). 


Cada  uno  sabe  adonde  le  aprieta  el  zapato  (the  wearer  best 
knows  where  the  shoe  pinches  him). — Span,  proverb.    D.  i.  834. 


For  love  is  blind  al  day,  and  may  nat  see. 

C.  T.,  E  1598. 

Speed.    Because  Love  is  blind. — Two   Gent,   of  Verona^  ii. 
I.  76. 

Claiidio.     Love    is    blind,    man. — Beaumont    and    Fletcher, 
Women  Pleased,  i.  i. 
Cf.  D.  i.  243. 

As  many  hedes,  as  many  wittes  ther  been. 

C.  r.,F203. 

How  many  hedis,  als  feil  consatis  been. — G.  Douglas,  tr.  of 
Virgil,  prol.  to  bk.  iv,  1.  16. 
{hedis,  heads,  men ;  als  feil,  so  many.) 

So  many  heads,  so  many  wits — fie,  fie  ! 
Is't  not  a  shame  for  Proverbs  thus  to  lie  ! 
My  selfe,  though  my  acquaintance  be  but  small. 
Know  many  heads  that  have  no  wit  at  all. 

Camden,  Remaines,  ed.  1657,  sig.  Gg. 

Quot  homines  tot  sententiae. — Terence,  Phorniio,  ii.  4.  14. 
Autant  de  testes,  autant  d^ophiions. — Cotgrave. 
Cf.  D.  ii.  544. 


And  for  to  maken  other  be  war  by  me, 
As  by  the  whelp  chasted  is  the  leoun. 

C.  T.,  F  490-1. 

(To  make  others  take  warning  by  me,  as  the  lion  is  rebuked 
by  seeing  a  dog  beaten.) 

Beat  the  dog  before  the  lion. — G.  Herbert, /rtr///a  Pruden/ion. 


Batre  le  chien  devant  le  Lion,  to  punish  a  mean  person  in  the 
presence,  and  to  the  terror  of,  a  great  one.  — Cotgrave,  F. 

You  are  but  now  cast  in  his  mood,  a  punishment  more  in 
poHcy  than  in  malice  ;  even  so  as  one  would  beat  his  offenceless 
dog  to  affright  an  imperious  lion. — Othello,  ii.  3.  272. 


A  trew  wight  and  a  theef  thenken  nat  oon. 

C.  r.,F537. 

{thenken  nat  oon,  think  not  alike.) 

Honest  men  never  have  the  love  of  a  rogue. — Proverb  (Hazlitt). 

Compare  the  following : — 

Alas !    I  see  a  serpent,  or  a  theef 

That  many  a  trewe  man  hath  doon  mischeef. 

C.  T.,  A  1325. 
If  you  meet  a  thief,  you  may  suspect  him  ...  to  be  no  true 
man. — Mttch  Ado,  iii.  3.  53. 

— I  made  vertu  of  necessitee. —  C.  Zl,  F  593. 
See  no.  199. 

Therfor  bihoveth  him  a  ful  long  spoon 
That  shal  ete  with  a  feend — thus  herde  I  seye. 

C  r.,  F  602-3. 

Ithamore.  Yes,  sir,  the  proverb  says,  he  that  eats  with  the 
devil  had  need  of  a  long  spoon.  I  have  brought  you  a  ladle. — 
Marlowe,  yi^w  of  Malta,  A.  iii.  sc.  4. 

This  is  a  devil,  and  no  monster ;  I  will  leave  him  ;  I  have  no 
long  spoon. —  Te/npest,  ii.  2.  103. 

Marry,  he  must  have  a  long  spoon  that  must  eat  with  the 
devil. —  Comedy  of  Errors,  iv.  3.  64. 


Here's  a  latten  spoon,  and  a  long  one,  to  feed  with  the  devil. 
—Webster,  The  Devil's  Law-case,  iv,  2. 

{latten,  a  mixed  metal,  like  pinchbeck.) 

He  needs  a  lang-shanket  spoon  that  sups  kail  \vi'  the  deil. — 
Hislop.     Cf.  D.  ii.  440. 

— Patience  is  an  heigh  vertu,  &c. — C.  T.,  F  773. 

See  no.  197. 

That  that  is  overdoon,  it  wol  nat  preve 
Aright  (as  clerkes  seyn),  it  is  a  vyce. 

C.  r.,G  645-6. 
(That  which  is  overdone,  will  not  work  out  right.) 
Omne  quod  est  nimium  uertitur  in  uicium.    (The  first  four 
words  are  written  in  the  margin  of  the  Ellesmere  MS.)    Cf.  Omne 
nimium  nocet.     Ne  quid  nimis. — Terence,  A?idria,  i.  i.  34. 

Est  modus  in  rebus,  sunt  certi  denique  fines. — Horace,  Sat, 
i.  I.  106. 
Too  much  cunning  undoes. — Proverb  (Hazhtt). 
tJlr]hiv-ayav.    See  D.  i.  37,  38. 

Euerich  thing  me  mei  ouerdon. — Ancreti  Rhule,  p.  286. 
(One  may  overdo  everything.) 

Evrich  thing  mai  losen  his  godhede 
Mid  unmethe  and  mid  over-dede. 

Owl  and  Nightingale,  351. 
(Everything  may  lose  its  goodness  by  want  of  moderation  and 
by  excess.) 
See  no.  25, 

— For  unto  shrewes,  &c.— C  T.,  G  746. 
See  no.  152. 

— But  al  thing  which  that  shyneth,  &c. 

See  no.  206.  C.  7".,  G  962. 



never  tell  your  foe,  &c.,  73. 
never  tell  your  wife  everything, 

new  love  drives  out  the  old,  186. 
night  dark,  morrow  glad,  154. 
nine  days  wonder,  a,  188. 
no  day  like  another,  64. 
no  new  thing,  222. 
no   one   esteemed   only   for    his 

song,  32. 
none  is  so  wise,  &c. ,  4. 
not  too  hasty,  155. 
not  worth  a  cress  {P.  PI.  B.  10. 

17,  C.  A.  3.  588),  227. 
nothing   venture,   nothing   have, 

164,  198. 
now  up,  now  down,  218. 

-oak  grows  from  a  small  shoot, 

of  all    trades,    thieves  are  most 

hung,  90. 
of  an  unbought  hide,  &c.,  86. 
of  two  evils,  choose  the  less,  161. 
old  sin  makes  new  shame,  56. 
one  cannot  make  a  sparrow-hawk 

of  a  buzzard,  6r. 
one  drop  of  poison,  &c.,  2. 
one  may  bring  a  horse,  &c.,  i. 
one  may  outrun  the  wise,  195. 
one  ought  to  show  goodwill,  49 
one's  own  is  one's  own,  85. 
oportet  and  pati,  112. 
other  men's  lives  warn  us,  58. 
out  of  sight,  out  of  mind  {H.  27, 

Alf.    B.    554,   C.  A.   3.    1899, 

C.  M.  4508),  226. 

part ;  see  lose. 

patience  conquers  (P.  PL  C.  14. 

203,   16.  138,  C.  A.   3.    1639}, 

pedlar's  pity  of  cats,  108. 
pepper  in  the  nose,  114. 
Peter,  to  rob,  296. 

SKEAT.     E.  E.  r. 

pipe  iu  an  ivy-leaf,  to,  204. 

pitch,  to  touch,  294. 

play  the  game,  275. 

pleasant  is  one's  own  fireside,  75. 

poke,  dogs  in  a,  301. 

(the)  poor  man  loses  his  friends, 

proifered  service  stinks,  138,  285. 
promise  is  debt,  241. 
proof  tries  all  things,  63. 

qui  bien  aime  (C.  71/.  4510),  141. 

rack  and  manger,  302. 

remedy  of  love  is  to  flee,  136. 

rich  ;  see  wisest. 

rob  Peter  to  pay  Paul,  296. 

rod  for  your  own  back,  153. 

(a)  rolling  stone  gathers  no  moss, 

rootless  plants  die,  192. 
rotten  apples  injure  others,  239. 
(to)  row  against  the  stream,  39. 

safety  is  good,  14. 

said  is  said,  291. 

scorpion's  sting,  117. 

seldom  comes  the  loan  back,  84. 

seldom  does  the  hated  man  end 

well,  33. 
servant ;  see  he  that, 
shepherd,  a  careless,  260. 
(the)    shoe  wrings   me,    I   know 

where,  277. 
(he)  shuns  those  that  know  him, 

six  and  seven,  at,  190. 
sleeping  dog,  do  not  wake  a,  178. 
smith,  a  good,  may  make  a  weak 

knife,  16. 
smoke,  rain,  and  a  scolding  wife 

(P.  PI.  C.  20.  297),  249. 
so  many  countries,  so  many  laws 

(//.  4),  158. 



so  many  heads,  so  many  wits,  279. 
soon  got,  soon  spent,  261. 
soon  ripe,  soon  rotten,  119. 
sooth  play,  quad  [evil]  play,  238, 
sow  and  reap,  36. 
spare  well  and  spend  well,  133. 
sparrow-hawk  and  buzzard,  61. 
speak  of  Robin  Hood,  165. 
speechless,  none  can  speed,  131. 
strength    yields    to   counsel    {O. 

and  N.  762  ;  Alf.  641),  195. 
strike  when  the  iron  is  hot,  169. 
(the)  sun  shines  on  a  muck-heap, 

&c.  (//.  5.  2299),  295. 
swan's  song,  137. 

take  what  you  find  or  what  you 
bring,  234. 

tell  your  wife,  do  not,  40. 

the  better  thou  art,  the  better 
beware,  81. 

(a)  thief  makes  a  good  game- 
keeper, 259. 

thing  said,  is  said,  291. 

think  before  you  act  (//.  S.  8085'), 

third  heir  sells  all,  loi. 
three  things  drive  a  man  out  of 

doors  {P.  PI.  C.  20.  297),  249. 
tidings  from  mill  and  market,  18. 
time  flies,  240. 
tongue  breaks  bone,  79. 
tongue,  power  of  the,  17. 
tongue,  to  hold  one's,  174. 
too  heavy  or  too  hot,  273. 
too  late,  when  the  chance  is  past, 

too  much,  he  that  grasps  at,  5. 
too  much  is  bad  {A.  R.  286,  O. 

and  N.  351),  283, 
touch  pitch,  to,  294. 
tow  on  his  distaff,  228. 
tree  (a  great),  has  a  great  fall,  172. 
troubled  eyes  ;  see  eyes, 
true  jest  is  no  jest,  238. 

true  man  and  a  thief,  142,  281. 

truth  prevails,  96. 

truth  spoken  in  jest,  253. 

turn  cat  in  the  pan,  298. 

(of)  two  evils,  choose  the  less,  i6r. 

under  bush  abide  the  storm,  82. 

untruth  brings  ruth,  66. 

up  and  down,  like  buckets,  218. 

venom  destroys  venom,  117. 
virtue  of  necessity,  to  make  a,  199, 

warned,  he  who  will  not  be,  &c. 

{K.  A.  3029,  3039\  263. 
water  added  to  the  Thames^  115. 
weathercock,  like  a,  147. 
(a)  web  ill-spun  soon  comes  out, 

well  abides  he  who  can  well  suffer, 

well    bestowed    is    the   food    he 

eats,  55. 
well  fights,  who  well  flies  {H.  10, 

O.  and  N.  176),  72,  136;  cf.  34. 
well   for  him  who   feeds  a  good 

man,  54. 
well  for  him  who  has  a  good  child, 

well  thrives  he  whom  God  loves, 


what  cannot  be  cured,  112. 

what  he  gets  by  thieving  is  care- 
fully hidden,  134. 

what  is  bred  in  the  bone,  29. 

what  is  overdone,  is  bad,  283. 

what  will  be,  shall  be,  215. 

what  youth  is  used  to,  age  re- 
members, 99. 

when  grooms  and  masters  are 
equal,  125. 

when  the  cup  is  fullest,  &c.,  77- 

when  the  evil  is  greatest,  83. 

whole  as  a  trout,  47. 



wine  and  youth  increase  love,  258 . 
wise  man,  greet  the,  10. 
wise  men  are  caught,  4. 
wise  men  learn  by  a  fool's  mis- 
takes (//.  5.  8o86\  176. 
wise  was  he  who  first  gave  gifts, 


wisest  is  he  who  recks  not  who 
is  rich,  265. 

wit  and  wisdom  are  a  good  store, 

without  wisdom  wealth  is  worth- 
less, 38. 

wit's  end,  at  one's  (P.  PL  B.  15. 
363),  181. 

woe  to  him  that  is  alone  {A.  R. 

252),  151- 
wolves    rend    sheep    when    the 

shepherd  fails   (P.  PI.  C.   10. 

267),  260. 
woman  the  confusion  of  man,  256. 
women  naturally  deceive,  weep, 

and  spin,  267. 
women's  counsels  are  cold,  257. 
(a)  wood  hath  ears,  216. 
(the)  word  should  suit  the  deed, 

world's   a  fair,  the  (C.  A.  prol. 

454),  205. 
wrath  as  the  wind,  121. 



BY    HORACE    HART,    M.A. 



284  ^ 

Ne  every  appel  that  is  fair  at  ye  -^  '^'    * 

Ne  is  nat  good,  what-so  men  clappe  or  crye. 

a  r,  G  964-5. 

{at ye,  at  eye,  to  look  on  ;  elapse,  loudly  assert.) 

An  eppel  i-heovved,  with-uten  feire  and  frakel  with-innen.  (An 
apple  of  bright  hue,  fair  without  and  rotten  within.) — Old  Eng. 
Homilies,  ed.  Morris,  Ser.  i,  p.  25. 

Mony  appel  is  bryht  withute,  and  bitter  withinne. — Prov.  of 
Alfred,  A  306. 

Rothe  Aepfel  sind  auch  faul. — D.  i.  107. 

A  goodly  apple,  rotten  at  the  htzxt.— Merchant  of  Venice, 
i.  3.  102. 

Nee  pulcrum  pomum  quodlibet  esse  bonum  (see  no,  206). 
D.  i.  107. 


Ful  sooth  it  is,  that  swich  profred  servyse 
Stinketh,  as  witnessen  thise  olden  wyse. 

C.T.,Q  1066-7. 

Merx  ultronea  putet  {apiid  Hieronymum). — Ray. 
Marchandise  offerte  est  k  demi  vendue. — Ray. 
Angebotene  Hiilfe  hat  keinen  Lohn. — D.  i.  Z6. 
Bodin  geir  stinks. — Scotch  Proverb  (Ray). 
See  no.  138,  to  the  like  effect. 

— Was  never  brid  gladder,  &c. —  C.  T.,  G  1342. 

See  no.  223. 


O !    fy !    for  shame !    they  that  han  been  brent 

Alias !    can  they  nat  flee  the  fyres  hete  ? 

C.  T.,Q  1407-8. 

Brend  child  fur  dredeth. — Hending,  st.  24. 
(The  burnt  child  dreads  fire.) 


Sare  man  aght  to  dred  the  brand 
That  brint  him  forwit  in  his  hand. 

Cursor  Mtmdi^  7223. 
{Sare,  sore  ;  aght,  ought ;  brint,  burnt ;  forwit,  previously.) 
Brent  child  of  fyr  hath  muche  drede. — Romaunt  of  the  Rose, 
Brennyd  cat  dredith  {Qir.—  Tale  of  Beryn,  78. 
The  y-bernde  uer  dret. — Ayenbite  of  Iniuyt,  p.  1 16. 
(The  burnt  one  dreads  fire.) 

Chat  eschaudd  craint  Peau  froide ;  Prov.  The  scalded  cat 
fears  water  though  it  be  cold. — Cotgrave,  F.  Dictionary .  Cf. 
D.  i.  531. 

None  knowes  the  danger  of  the  fire  more  then  he  that  falles 
into  it. —  The  London  Prodigall,  A.  i.  sc.  i. 


.  .  .  For  bet  than  never  is  late; 
Never  to  thryve  were  to  long  a  date. 

C,  Zl,  G  1410-11. 

Better  late  than  never. — Proverb. 

Never  is  a  long  term. — Proverb  (Hazlitt). 

Vyce  to  forsake  ys  better  late  than  neuer. — Lydgate,  Assembly 
of  Gods,  1204. 

Never  too  late,  if  Faustus  will  repent. —Marlowe,  Dr.  Faustus, 
A.  ii.  sc.  3. 

Cf.  Betere  is  er  then  to  late. — Ancren  Riwle,  p.  340. 

See  no.  27.     D.  i.  204. 


Ye  been  as  bolde  as  is  Bayard  the  blinde, 
That  blundreth  forth,  and  peril  casteth  noon. 

C.  T.,  G  1413-4. 

{forth,  onward  ;  casteth,  considers,  fears.  Bayard  was  a 
common  colloquial  name  for  a  horse.) 


Thay  blustered  [wandered  about]  as  blynde  as  Bayard  was 
euer. — Alliterative  Poems,  B  886. 

For  blynde  Bayarde  cast  peryll  of  nothynge 
Tyll  that  he  stumblyng  falle  amydde  the  lake, 

Lydgate,  Storie  of  Troye,  Book  v,  ed.  1555,  sig.  Eeii. 
Bot  as  Baiard,  the  blinde  stede, 
Till  he  falle  in  the  dich  amidde, 
He  goth  ther  [ivhere]  no  man  vvol  him  bidde. 

Gower,  Conf.  Amant.  vi.  1280. 

Bayard-like,  blind,  overweaning. — King Edw.  Ill,  A.  iii.  sc.  i. 

Naething  sae  bauld  as  a  blind  mear  \^inare\ — Hislop,  Scot. 

Dun  is  in  the  myre. — C.  Zl,  H  5. 

But  elles,  siker,  Don  is  in  the  myre. — Hoccleve,  De  Regimine 
Principum,  2384. 

Dun  is  in  the  myre,  dame,  reche  me  my  spur. — Skelton, 
Garland  of  Laiirell,  1 43  3. 

If  thou  art  Dun,  we'll  draw  thee  from  the  mire. — Romeo  and 
Juliet,  i.  4.  41. 

Who  has  dragged  your  dunship  out  0'  th'  mire. — Butler, 
Hudibras,  iii.  3.  1 10. 

{Dun,  a  dun  horse.  There  was  an  old  Christmas-game, 
called  drawing  Dun  out  of  the  mire,  in  which  a  heavy  log  was 
dragged  along  by  the  players.) 

I  see  I'm  bom  still  to  draw  dun  out  o'  the  mire  for  you  ;  that 
wise  beast  will  I  be. — Webster,  Westward  Ho,  ii.  3. 

Dun's  i'  th'  mire;  get  out  again,  how  he  can. — Beaum.  and 
Fletcher,  Woman-hater,  iv.  2. 

And  all  gooth  bacward,  and  Don  is  in  the  myr. — Excerpta 
Historica,  p.  279. 

— The  wyse  Plato  seith,  &c. —  C.  T.,  H  207. 
See  no.  212. 


— The  firste  vertu,  &c.— C  7!,  H  332. 
See  no.  174. 


The  Fleming  seith,  and  lerne  it,  if  thee  leste, 
That  litel  jangling  causeth  muchel  reste, 

C.  T.,H  349-50. 
Little  said  is  soon  amended,  and  in  little  meddling  cometh 
great  rest. —  Two  Angty  Womcft  of  Ahington,  A.  iii.  sc.  2, 
Compare  also: — 

Gret  reste  stant  in  litel  besinesse. —  Truth,  10. 
After  jangling  wordes  cometh '  huissht !  pees !  and  be  stille!  '— 
T.  Usk,  Testament  of  Love ^  i.  5.  90. 
Cf.  Loke  that  thu  ne  be  thare 

Thar  chavling  beth  and  cheste  yare ; 
Let  sottes  chide  and  vorth  thu  go. 

Owl  and  Nightingale,  295. 
(thare  Thar,  there  where  :   chavling,  chattering ;  cheste,  dis- 
puting ;  yare,  ready  ;  sottes,  fools;   vorth,  forth.) 
Little  said,  soon  amended  (Hazlitt). 


Thing  that  is  seid,  is  seid;  and  forth  it  gooth. 

C.  T„  H  355. 

Et  semel  emissum  uolat  irreuocabile  uerbum. — Horace,  Ep. 
i.  18.71. 


The  proverbe  seith : — that  many  smale  maken  a 
greet. —  C,  Z*.,  I  362. 

For  many  smale  maketh  a  grete. — Robert  of  Brunne,  Handlyng 
Sytine,  2366. 

Adde  parum  paruo,  magnus  aceruus  erit. — D.  ii.  554. 

Many  littles  make  a  mickle. — Camden. 


The  drops  are  infinite  that  make  a  floud. — King  Edw.  Ill, 
A.  iv.  sc.  4.  59. 

De  minimis  granis  fit  maxima  summa  caballo. — Hampole, 
Prick  of  Conscience,  3417. 

Ofte,  as  me  seith,  of  lutel  wacseth  muchel. — Ancren  Riwle, 

p.  54. 

(Often,  as  one  says,  from  little  grows  much.) 

Muchel  kumeth  of  lutel.—/.;/.  p.  296. 

(Much  comes  of  little.) 

Mony  littles  mak  a  muckle. — Hislop.     D,  ii.  554. 


And  ofte  tyme  swiche  cursinge  wrongfully  retorneth 
again  to  him  that  curseth,  as  a  brid  that  retorneth  again 
to  his  owene  nest. —  C.  T.,  I  620. 

Curses  are  like  young  chickens,  they  always  come  home  to 
roost. — Southey,  Motto  to  Cttrse  of  Kehama  (from  late  Greek). 
For  curses  are  like  arrowes  shot  upright. 
Which  falling  down  light  on  the  shuter's  head. 

Arden  of  Fevershajn,  iv.  4.  40-1. 
Cf.  Proverbs  of  Alfred,  84  (no.  37). 


Who-so  toucheth  warm  pich,  it  shent  his  fingres.— 
C.  T.,  I  854. 
{shent,  harms,  defiles.) 

Who-so  handlyth  pycche  wellyng  hote, 
He  shal  haue  fylthe  therof  sumdeyl. 

Robert  of  Brunne,  Handlyng  Synne,  6578. 
{wellyng  hote,  boiling  hot ;  sumdeyl,  in  some  degree.) 



Therfore  seith  the  wise  man,  he  that  handlith  pich  schal  be 
foulid  therof. — Wyclif,  Wor^s,  ed.  Matthew,  218. 
(/>u/t,  pitch  ;  foiilid  therof,  defiled  thereby.) 
They  that  touch  pitch  will  be  defiled. — Much  Ado,  iii,  3.  60, 
All  from  Ecclus.  xiii.  I.     D.  ii.  209. 


Holy  writ  may  nat  been  defouled,  na  more  than  the 
Sonne  that  shyneth  on  the  mixen. — C.  T.,  I  911. 
{sonne,  sun  ;  mixen,  dung-hill.) 

The  sunne,  hys  feyrnes  neuer  he  tynes, 
Thogh  hyt  on  the  muk-hepe  shynes. 

Robert  of  Brunne,  Handlyng  Synne,  2299. 
Then  did  the  sun  on  dung-hill  shine. — Merry  Wives,  i.  3.  70, 
The  sun  is  never  the  worse  for  shining  on  a  dung-hill  (Hazlitt). 
The  sun  is  nae  waur  for  shining  on  the  midden. — Hislop. 


A  few  Proverbs  or  proverbial  expressions  occur  in  the  Prose 
Works  of  Wyclif,  as  printed  in  two  separate  selections.  These 
are  :— (i)  Seleci  English  Works  of  John  Wyclif,  ed.  T.  Arnold, 
Oxford,  1 87 1,  3  vols. ;  and  (2)  The  English  Works  of  Wyclif 
hitherto  unprinted,  ed.  F.  D.  Matthew,  E.E.T.  S.,  1880. 


Hou  schulde  God  approve  that  thou  robbe  Petur, 
and  gif  this  robber [i]e  to  Poule  in  the  name  of  Crist  ? 
—  Works ^  ed.  Arnold,  iii.  174. 

{gif  give  ;  robber{i)e,  result  of  the  robbery.) 

See  N.  E.  D.,  s.v.  Peter,  §  2  ;  and  the  note  below,  p.  136. 

Descouvrir  S.  Pierre  pour  couvrir  S,  Paul,  to  borrow  of 
Peter  to  pay  Paul.— Cotgrave,  F.  Dictionary.     D.  i.  71. 


As  a  horce  unrubbed,  that   haves   a   sore   back, 
wynses  when  he  is  oght  touched  or  rubbed  on  his 
rugge. —  Works ^  ed.  Arnold,  iii.  231. 
(wynses,  winces  ;  rugge,  back.) 

For  trewely,  ther  is  noon  of  us  alle, 
If  any  wight  wol  clawe  us  on  the  galle, 

That  we  nil  kike. 

Chaucer,  C.  T.,  D  939. 

(clawe,  scratch,  rub  ;  That  we  nil  kike,  but  that  we  will  kick.) 
Let  the  galled  jade  wince  ;  our  withers  are  unwrung. — Hamlet, 
iii.  2.  253. 

128  JOHN   WYCLIF  i 

For  I  know  none  [no  women]  will  winch  except  she  bee 
gawlded,  neither  any  be  offended  unlesse  she  be  guiltie. — Lyly, 
Etiphues,  p.  119. 


Many  men  of  lawe  .  .  .  bi  here  suteltes  turnen  the 
cat  in  the  panne. —  Works^  ed.  Arnold,  iii.  332, 

There  is  a  cunning,  which  we  in  England  call  The  Turning  of 
the  Cat  in  the  Pan  ;  which  is,  when  that  which  a  Man  sayes  to 
another,  he  laies  it  as  if  Another  had  said  it  to  him. — Bacon, 
Essay  22  (Of  Cunning).    See  the  note,  p.  137. 


Charite  schuld  bigyne  at  hem-self. —  Works ^  ed. 
Matthew,  78. 

{bigyne,  begin  ;  hem-self  themselves.) 

Charity  and  beating  begins  {sic)  at  home. — Beaum.  and 
Fletcher,   Wit  without  Money,  v.  2. 

Adapted  from  i  Tim.  v.  8.    D.  ii.  40. 

Charity  begins  at  home  first. — Clarke,  Parcemiologia,  1639 ; 
cited  by  Hazlitt,  who  adds  (from  Ray),  Self-love  is  the  measure 
of  our  love  to  our  neighbour. 


With  hook  or  with  crok. — Works,  ed.  Matthew,  250. 

(By  hook  or  by  crook  ;  in  one  way  or  another.)     See  N.E.D. 

They  sillen  sacramentis  .  .  and  othere  spiritualty,  .  .  and 
compellen  men  to  bie  alle  this  with  hok  or  crok. —  Works, 
ed.  Arnold,  iii.  331. 

{sillen,  sell  ;  spiritualty,  spiritual  things  ;  bie,  buy.) 


Nor  vvyll  [they]  suffre  this  boke 
By  hoke  ne  by  croke 
Prynted  for  to  be. 

Skelton,  Colyn  Chute,  1240. 

By  one  meanes  therfore  or  by  other,  either  by  hooke  or 
crooke. — Robinson,  tr.  of  More' s  Utopia,  41. 


Thei  faren  ofte  as  don  doggis  in  a  poke. —  Works, 
ed.  Matthew,  319. 

(They  behave  often  like  dogs  in  a  bag,  i.  e.  they  quarrel  and 

Than  shulde  pees  be  in  the  Chirche  vvithouten  strif  of  doggis 
in  a  poke. —  Works,  ed.  Arnold,  ii.  358. 

They  walwe  as  doon  two  pigges  in  a  poke. — Chaucer,  C.  T., 
A  4278. 

{walwe,  wallow  or  roll  about,  struggle,  wrestle.) 


■  It  is  yuel  to  kepe  a  wast  hors  in  stable,  .  .  .  but  it  is 
worse  to  have  a  woraman  at  racke  and  at  manger. — 
Works,  ed.  Matthew^  435. 

A  queane  co-rivall  with  a  queene .'' 
Nay,  kept  at  racke  and  manger  ? 

Warner,  A/biofi's  England,  viii.  41.  st.  46. 
{at  rack  and  manger,  in  the  midst  of  abundance  or  plenty, 
wanting  for  nothing.— iV.  E.  D.) 

And  keepe  not  a  iade  at  rack  and  maunger  ;  quoted  in  Hazlitt, 
Early  Poptilar  Poetry,  iv.  no. 

SliEAT.    E.E.I'.  K 


2.  The  converse  of  this  Proverb  occurs  in  the  following : 
'  One  dramme  of  ioy  must  haue  a  pound  of  care.' — Locrine,  A. 
iv.  sc.  I.  102. 

6.  Compare  the  following : 

Ne  ilef  \\x  neuer  })ane  mon  ))at  is  of  feole  speche, 
Ne  alle  ))e  |>inge  |)at  })u  iherest  singe. 

Prov.  of  Alfred,  A  352-5. 

19.  The  equivalent  forms  in  D.  i.  129  show  the  sense  more 
clearly.  For  example,  we  find  in  late  Latin— Est  oculo  gratum 
speculari  semper  amatum.  And  in  Italian — Dov'  e  I'amore,  la 
e  I'occhio  ;  i.  e.  where  love  is,  there  is  the  eye ;  or,  thither  is  the 
eye  directed. 

20.  Compare  the  following  : 

Monymon  wenejj  ))at  he  wene  ne  ))arf, 

Freond  \aX  he  habbe  })ar  me  him  vayre  bi-hat ; 

SeyJ)  him  vayre  bivore,  and  frakele  bihynde. 

Prov.  of  Alfred,  344-9. 
Take  heed  of  thy  friends.— Ecclus.  vi.  13. 

21.  In  the  Ancrcn  Riwle,  p.  120,  we  find  a  similar  proverb, 
expressed  in  remarkable  terms.  *  Wreththe  is  a  uorschuppild,' 
&c. ;  i.  e.  Wrath  is  a  sorceress  (lit.  a  transformer),  as  is  said  in 
stories ;  for  it  bereaveth  and  depriveth  man  of  his  right  under- 
standing, and  changeth  his  whole  countenance,  and  transforms 
him  from  man  into  beast's  nature. 

But,  as  the  poet  sings,  let  your  displeasure 
Be  a  short  fury,  and  go  out! 

Beaum.  and  Fletcher,  The  Scornftel  Lady,  iii.  2. 
24.  At  length  the  water  with  continuall  drops 
Doth  penetrate  the  hardest  marble-stone. 

Locrine f  ii.  i.  3. 

SKEAT,     E.  E.P.  K    % 

132  NOTES 

To  the  three  words  quoted  from  Ovid  were  added,  in  medieval 
Latin,  the  words: — non  ui  sed  saepe  cadendo.  See  Biichmann, 
who  also  quotes,  from  Choerilus  of  Samos,  the  line : — jreTprjv 
KoiXalvei  pavh  vdaros  ev8f\exfLll,  the  drop  of  water  hollows  OUt 
the  rock  by  continuance.  But  'the  waters  wear  the  stones' 
occurs  as  early  as  in  Job,  xiv.  19. 

26.  In  an  Anglo-Saxon  homily,  printed  in  Hcrrig's  Afchiv, 
cxxii.  259,  we  find: — Nu-))a  sceal  aslc  mon,  })aet  he  to  Gode  ge- 
cyrre  ))a  hwile  \&  he  mjege,  \&  Ises,  gif  he  nu  nelle  |)a  hwile  })e 
he  maege,  eft  ))onne  he  late  wille,  ))set  he  ne  maege ;  i.e.  Now 
then  every  man  ought  to  turn  to  God  while  he  may,  lest,  if  he 
now  will  not  while  he  may,  he  afterwards  may  not,  when  he  at 
last  will.  The  editor  (Max  Forster)  points  out  that  the  original 
of  this  occurs  in  St.  Augustine,  Sermon  224,  ch.  4  (ed.  Migne, 
xxxviii.  1095),  in  the  following  form :  — Corrigant  se,  qui  tales 
sunt,  dum  vivunt,  ne  postea  velint  et  non  possint.    Cf.  Isaiah,  Iv.  6. 

3a.  Qui  bien  chante  et  qui  bien  danse 

Fait  un  metier  qui  peu  avance. 
P.  M.  Quitard,  Dictionnaire  des  Proverbes,  p.  2S9. 

39.  Nee  coneris  contra  ictum  fluuii.— Ecclus.  iv.  32  (Vulgate). 
Cf.  Juvenal,  Sat.  iv.  89. 

40.  Be  wise  and  ware  ;   wake,  or  ye  wink, 
And  tel  not  your  wife  all  that  ye  think. 

Schole-house  of  Women,  90S ;   in  Hazlitt's 
Early  Popular  Poetry,  iv.  140. 

43.  A  barking  dog  doth  sildome  strangers  bite. — Locrine,  iv. 
I.  120. 
47.  See  examples  of  Fish-whole  in  the  A^.  E.  D. 
60.  One  mischiefe  followes  on  anothers  necke. — Locrine,  v.  4. 

Abilqualit.  'Tis  so  ;   afflictions 

Do  fall  like  hailstones ;    one  no  sooner  drops 
But  a  whole  shower  does  follow. 

Chapman  (?),  Revenge  for  Honour,  ii.  I. 

NOTES  133 

61.  You  cannot  make  a  silk  purse  of  a  sow's  ear  (Hazlitt). 

62.  Death  is  better  than  a  bitter  Hfe. — Ecclus.  xxx.  17. 
Better  tine  [lose]  life,  since  tint  is  good  fame.— Scott,  Heart 

of  MidlotJiian,  ch.  vii. 

Melius  virtute  mori  quam  per  dedecus  vivere.— C.  Tourneur, 
Revenger's  Tragedy,  i.  4. 

64.  Les  jours  se  suivent  et  ne  se  ressemblent  pas. — C.  de 
M^ry,  Histoire  des  Proverbcs,  i.  279,    He  refers  to  Hesiod,  who 
calls  one  day  '  a  stepmother ',  and  another  '  a  mother '. 
—  Few  are  wise  in  days  : 
One  cruel  as  a  stepmother  we  find. 
And  one  as  an  indulgent  mother  kind. 
T.  Cooke,  tr.  of  Hesiod' s  Works  and  Days,  bk.  iii  (end). 

67.  Dimidium  facti  qui  coepit  habet.— Horace,  Episf.  i.  2.40. 

But  in  proverbe  I  have  herd  seye 
That  who  that  wel  his  werk  begynneth 
The  rather  a  good  ende  he  wynneth. 

Gower,  C.A.prol.  86*. 

78.  Marry  in  haste,  and  repent  at  leisure  (Hazlitt). 

79.  Malicious  tunges,  though  they  haue  no  bones, 
Are  sharper  then  swordes,  sturdier  then  stones. 

Skelton,  Against  Venemous  Tongues;  ed.  Dyce,  i.  1 34. 

Tunge  brekith  boon,  al  if  the  tunge  himself  have  noon. — 
Wyclif,  Works,  ed.  Arnold,  ii.  44. 

Ha  !    wicke  tunge,  wo  thee  be  ! 
For  men  sein  that  the  harde  bon, 
Althogh  himselven  have  non, 
A  tunge  brekth  it  al  to  pieces. 

Gower,  C.  A.  iii.  462. 

81.  Attributed,  in  the  Owl  and  Nightingale,  to  king  Alfred. 
gi.  Ray's  note,  that  this  is  a  Yorkshire  proverb,  is  confirmed 
by  its  appearance  (twice)  in  the  Towneley  Mysteries,  ii.  435  ; 

134  NOTES 

and  xiii.  587,     The  latter  instance  runs  thus : — Ille  spon  weft, 
i-wys,  ay  commys  foulle  owte. 

103.  The  stone  that  is  rolling  can  gather  no  mosse. — Tusser, 
Husba}idfie,  (E.  D.  S.),  jy.  20. 

117.  .  .  they  [women]  relish  much  of  scorpions ; 

For  both  have  stings,  and  both  can  hurt  and  cure  too. 
Beaum.  and  Fletcher,  Custom  of  the  Country,  v.  5. 
'Tis  true,  a  scorpion's  oil  is  said 
To  cure  the  wounds  the  vermin  made. 

Butler,  Hjtd:bias,  iii.  2.  1029. 

118.  Yuel  frute  witnessith  yuel  rote  [root].— Wyclif,  Works, 
ed.  Matthew,  331. 

119.  And  choicest  fruits,  too  soon  pluck'd,  rot  and  wither. — 
Massinger,  A  Neiu  Way,  iii.  2. 

Musk-melons  are  the  emblems  of  these  maids ; 

Now  they  are  ripe,  now  cut  them— they  taste  pleasantly, 

And  are  a  dainty  fruit,  digested  easily  : 

Neglect  this  present  time,  and  come  to-morrow, 

They  are  so  ripe,  they  are  rotten— gone ! 

Beaum.  and  Fletcher,  Wildgoose  Chase,  i.  3. 
—  make  him  ripe  too  soon. 
You'll  find  him  rotten  in  the  handling. 

Id.  The  Captain,  i.  2. 

123.  Well,  as  he  brews,  so  shall  he  drink. — Ben  Jonson,  Every 
Man,  ii.  2.  35. 

As  she  has  brewed,  so  let  her  drink. — Chapman,  Eastward 
Ho,  iv.  I  {Touchstone). 

127.  More  exactly : — idque  Socratem  audio  dicentem,  cibi 
condimentum  esse  famem,  potionis  sitim. — Cicero,  de  Finibus, 
ii.  28.  90. 

Make  hunger  thy  sauce,  as  a  medcine  for  helth. — Tusser, 
Hiisbaiidrie,  (E.  D.  S.),  10.  17. 

130.  The  which,  bicause  they  take  chalke  for  cheese,  shall 
never  trouble  me.— Gascoigne,  Works  (ed.  Hazlitt),  i.  9. 

NOTES  135 

132.  For  who  so  heweth  ouer  hye, 

The  chippes  wyll  fall  in  his  eye. 
Parlanient  of  Byrdes,   183;    in  Hazlitt's  Early 
Poptdar  Poetry,  iii.   177. 

148.  In  my  edition  of  Chaucer's  Works,  ii.  160,  the  line  is 
given  as  it  stands  in  the  Campsall  MS.,  viz. — '  But  alday  falleth 
thing  that  foles  ne  wenden  ' ;  i.e.  but  things  continually  fall  out 
such  as  fools  did  not  expect.  But  the  alternative  reading  in  the 
other  MSS.,  which  I  here  follow,  is  far  better,  and  is  rendered 
almost  certain  by  the  fact  that  Usk,  who  often  servilely  follows 
Chaucer,  actually  has  the  reading  cited  at  p.  61.  Compare  also 
the  quotations  from  Barbour  and  Shakespeare. 

149.  Rather  to  bowe  than  breke  is  profytable  ; 
Humylite  is  a  thyng  commendable. 

Morall  Proverdes  of  Cristyne  (in  Pynson's  2nd  ed. 
of  Chaucer,  fol.  e  4,  back). 

152.  The  medieval  Latin  proverb — '  Solamen,  tScc.,' — is  also 
quoted  in  this  form  by  Beaumont  and  Fletcher,  in  The  Scornful 
Lady,  ii.  I. 

155-  This 

Is  still  the  punishment  of  rashness — sorrow. 

Beaum.  and  Fletcher,  Beggar's  Bush,  ii.  3. 

The  hasty  person  never  wants  woe,  they  say. — Chapman, 
Eastward  Ho,  v.  i. 

A  hasty  man  never  wants  woe. —  Two  angry  Women  of 
Abington,  iv.  3. 

158.  So  many  lands,  so  many  fashions.— Chapman,  Alphonsus, 
iii.  I. 

Ilka  land  has  its  ain  land-law. — Scott,  Heart  of  Midlothian, 
ch.  28. 

161.  De  duobus  malis  minus  est  semper  eligendum, — Thomas 
;\  Kempis,  De  Imitatione  Chrisii,  iii.  12.  In  needful  dangers 
ever  choose  the  least.— Chapman,  All  Fools,  i.  i. 

136  NOTES 

169.  Then,  while  the  honour  thou  hast  got 
Is  spick  and  span  new,  piping  hot. 
Strike  her  up  bravely  thou  hadst  best. 

Butler,  Hitdibras,  i.  3.  397. 

170.  And  yet  in  this  you  but  pour  oil  on  fire.  — Massinger, 
Duke  of  Milan,  v.  i. 

171.  Men  geseo^  oft  ])aet  of  anum  lytlum  cyrnele  cym¥  micel 
treow  (Men  often  see  that  from  one  little  kernel  comes  a  great 
tree). — vElfric,  Homilies,  ed.  Thorpe,  i.  236. 

173.  A  parallel  phrase  to  '  bear  the  bell '  is  '  to  carry  the 
banner,'  i.  e.  bear  the  flag.  '  In  this  ypocrisie  thes  mendinauntis 
[these  mendicants]  beren  the  baner  for  sutilte  and  feyned  pouert ' 
[poverty].— Wyclif,  Works,  ed.  Matthew,  130. 

176.  Chapman  quotes  the  Latin  proverb — Felix  quem  faciunt, 
&c.— in  his  Hm/iorotes  Day's  Mirth,  ed.  R.  H.  Shepherd,  p.  39.  In 
the  final  Chorus  to  the  old  tragedy  of  Ferrex  and  Porrex,  we 

And  happy  he  that  can  in  time  beware 
By  other's  harms,  and  turn  it  to  his  good. 

For  happy  is  he  whom  other  men's  harms  do  make  to  beware. 
—  T7V0  angry  Women  of  Abifigton,  iii.  2. 

Then  happy  is  he  by  example  that  can 
Take  heede  by  the  fall  of  a  mischieued  man. 

Tusser,  Husbattdrie  (E.  D.  S.),  10.  36. 

182.  After  these  storms 

At  length  a  calm  appears. 

Massinger,  A  New  Way,  v.  i. 

184.  See  the  poem  entitled  '  Merci  passith  Rightwisnes'  in 
Hymns  to  the  Virgin,  ed.  Furnivall,  p.  95  (E.  E.  T.  S.,  1867). 

187.  This  passage  from  Chaucer  is  copied  in  Usk's  Testament 
of  Love,  i.  2.  167. 

189.  Fortune  th'  audacious  doth  juvare. — Butler,  Hudibras, 
i-  3-  395- 

NOTES  137 

190.  And  setteth  his  soule  upon  sixe  or  on  seauen, 
Not  fearing  nor  caring  for  hell  nor  for  heauen. 

Tusser,  Htisbandrie  (E.  D.  S.),  10.  60. 

196.   Clora.     Come,  come,  this  is  not  wise,  nor  provident, 
To  halt  before  a  cripple. 

Beaum.  and  Fletcher,  The  Captain,  \.  2. 

'Tis  ill  halting  before  a  cripple. —  Two  angry  Women  of 
Abingto?t,  iv.  3. 

202.  Comming  to  Naples  but  to  fetch  fire,  as  the  by-word  is, 
not  to  make  [it]  my  place  of  abode.— Lyly,  Euphties,  p.  72. 

203.  '  Mais  ou  sont  les  neiges  d'antan  ? '  (but  where  are  last 
year's  snows  ?)  is  the  burden  to  a  famous  ballad  by  Villon  upon 
Les  dames  dii  temps  jadzs. 

204.  The  seculer  party  may  go  pipe  with  an  yvy  lefe  for  eny 
lordeschipis  that  the  clerkis  wille  yeve  hem  ayen  [give  them  back 
again]. — Wyclif,  IVorl's,  ed.  Matthew,  372. 

206.  Something  shall  shew  like  gold,  at  least  shall  glister. — 
Beaum.  and  Fletcher,  77ie  FtVgrim,  iv.  2. 

21X.  For,  as  they  seyn  that  groundiden  thes  cloystris,  thes 
men  myghten  no  more  dwelle  out  ther-of  than  fizs  [fish]  myghte 
dwelle  out  of  water. — Wyclif,  Works,  ed.  Matthew,  449. 

215.  What  must  be,  must  be.— Beaum.  and  Fletcher,  The 
Scornful  Lady,  iii.  i. 

221.  Well,  that  happens  in  an  hour  that  happens  not  in  seven 
years.—  Two  angry  Women  of  Abington,  iv.  3. 

226.  Quantum  oculis,  animo  tarn  procul  ibit  amor. — Propertius, 
Eleg.  iii.  21.  10. 

229.  As  he  hath  a  colt's  tooth  yet. — Beaum.  and  Fletcher, 
The  Elder  Brother,  ii.  3. 

231.  Legem  non  habet  necessitas.  From  St.  Augustine, 
Soliloq,  antmae  ad  Deitm,  c.  2. 

233.  No  clerk  !    What  then  ? 

The  greatest  clerks  are  not  the  wisest  men. 

Chapman,  Caesar,  ii.  i. 

138  NOTES 

240.  Byde  for  tyme  who  wyll,  for  tyme  wyll  no  man  byde. — 
Skelton,  On  Time,  9. 

Sed  fugit  interea,  fugit  irreparabile  tempos. — Virgil,  Geo7-^. 
iii.  284. 

Eheu !    fugaces,  Postume,  Postume, 
Labuntur  anni. 

Horace,  Carm.  ii.  14.  I. 

262.  For  he  is  fire  and  flax;  and  so  have  at  him!  — Beaum. 
and  Fletcher,  The  Elder  Brother,  A.  i.  (last  line). 

266.  Come,  draw  your  sword;  you  know  the  custom  here,  sir, 
First  come,  first  served. 
Beaum.  and  Fletcher,  The  Little  French  Lawyer,  ii.  i. 

269.  The  sisters  being  thus  on  all  sides  reiected  .  .  .  began  to 
melt  in  their  owne  grease. — Gascoigne,  Works,  ed.  Hazlitt,  i.  474, 

282.  He  suld  hae  a  lang-shankit  spune  that  wad  sup  kale  wi' 
the  deil. —  Scott,  Heart  of  Midlothian,  ch.  45  (end). 

290.  And  who  wyll  Hue  in  rest  longe, 

Maye  not  be  besy  with  his  tonge. 
Parlavient  of  Byrdes,  125  ;    in  Hazlitt's  Eaj'ly 
Popular  Poetry,  iii.  173. 

296.  In  Lanfranc's  Science  of  Cirnrgie  (E.  E.T.  S.,  p.  331), 
written  about  1400,  we  find  the  expression — '  For  sum  medicyne 
is  for  Peter  that  is  not  good  for  Poul,  for  the  diuersite  of  com- 
plexioun.'  On  which  the  A".  E.  D.  well  remarks  that  there  is 
here  '  a  mere  conjunction  of  two  well-known  alliterating  names'. 
The  saying  was  afterwards  somewhat  spoilt  by  the  substitution 
of  the  saints'  names,  which  (it  should  be  observed)  are  by  no 
means  necessarily  implied  in  the  quotation  from  Wyclif,  who 
uses  the  names  in  a  more  general  sense. 

The  A''.  E.  D.  further  quotes  from  Heylin's  Histofy  of  the 
Reformation  (ed.  1674,  P-  121)  to  this  effect:— 'The  lands  of 
Westminster,  so  dilapidated  by  Bp.  Thirlby  .  .  .  the  rest  laid  out 
for  reparation  to  the  church  of  St.  Paul ;  pared  almost  to  the 
very  quick  in  those  days  of  Rapine.    From  hence  first  came  that 

NOTES  139 

significant  By-word  (as  is  said  by  some)  of  Robbing  Peter  to  pay 
Paul.'  Few  things  in  history  are  more  pestilent  than  false 
guesses  of  this  kind,  which  are  usually  repeated  ad  natiseam,  to 
the  confusion  of  the  honest  doubter  and  searcher  after  truth. 
The  saints'  names  are  first  substituted  for  the  common  ones  in 
Barclay's  Egloges  (1515) ;  yet  in  Heywood's  Proverbs  (1562)  we 
merely  have  'rob  Peter  and  pay  Poule  ;  and  again,  in  1581,  the 
phrase  '  to  uncloath  Peter  to  cloath  Paule,'  which  is  a  mere 
translation  of  the  phrase  which  I  have  quoted  from  Cotgrave, 
and  not  at  all  applicable  to  Westminster  Abbey.  We  may  admit 
that  a  general  observation  was  once  applied  afterwards  to  a 
particular  case  ;  but  this  proves  nothing  as  to  the  '  origin  '  of  the 

Even  as  late  as  1771,  I  find  Peter  and  Paul  used  in  a  general 
sense  ;  as  follows  : — 

Rackett.  What  a  most  contemptible  cur  is  a  miser  ! 
Sir  Christoplier.  Ten  thousand  times  worse  than  a  highway- 
man :  that  poor  devil  only  pilfers  from  Peter  or  Paul,  and  the 
money  is  scattered  as  soon  as  received ;  but  the  wretch  that 
accumulates  for  the  sake  of  secreting,  annihilates  what  was 
intended  for  the  use  of  the  world,  and  is  a  robber  of  the  whole 
human  race.— Foote,  The  Maid  of  Bath.,  Act.  iii. 

298.  Here  again  (cf.  the  note  above)  a  desperate  attempt  has 
been  made  to  account  for  the  origin  of  the  phrase  '  to  turn  a  cat 
in  a  pan '  by  the  false  assumptions  that  the  original  word  was 
cate,  and  that  cate  could  mean  a  pan-cake,  of  which  there  is  no 
known  example.  It  is  only  too  common  to  accept  a  plausible 
guess  by  way  of  solving,  in  a  hurry,  a  point  of  some  difficulty. 

It  is  clear,  from  the  known  examples,  that  the  word  cat  applies 
to  the  domestic  quadruped,  and  to  nothing  else  ;  and  that  to 
turn  a  cat  in  a  pan  was  simply  to  turn  her  over  and  alter  her 
position,  which  was  looked  upon  as  an  operation  requiring  skill. 
We  may  suppose  that  she  was  comfortably  occupying  an  empty 
bread-pan,  and  that  a  by-stander's  skill  was  to  be  tested  by 
asking  him  to  alter  her  position  without  turning  her  out  ;  avoid- 


ing  her  scratches  if  he  could.  It  was  evidently  a  rustic  joke. 
Note  that  the  usual  sense  was  simply,  to  reverse  a  thing  entirely  ; 
hence,  intransitively,  to  turn  (oneself)  completely  round.  There 
is  an  excellent  example  of  the  latter  use  in  the  fifth  verse  of  the 
well-known  song  entitled  The  Vicar  of  Bray  ^  which  runs  thus; — 
When  George  in  pudding-time  came  o'er, 

And  moderate  men  looked  big,  sir, 
I  turned  a  cat  in  pan  once  more, 
And  so  became  a  Whig,  sir. 
That  is  to  say,  he  exhibited  his  cleverness  by  changing  sides 

The  quotation  which  I  here  give  from  Wyclif  duly  appears  in 
the  N.  E.  D. ;  but  is  given  under  pan  instead  of  under  cat. 



Each  proverb  is  given  in  a  brief  form,  and  is  indexed  under  a 
leading  word.  Some  are  thus  indexed  twice.  '  After  sorrow,  joy  ' 
occurs  in  P.  PL  (  =  Piers  Plowman),  but  not  on  pp.  42-51  ;  and  so  in 
other  cases.  Alf.  refers  to  Alfred's  Proverbs;  A.  P.,  Ancren  Riwle  ; 
Br.,  Bruce;  C.  A.,  Confessio  Amantis  ;  C.  M.,  Cursor  Mundi ;  H., 
Hending;  H.  S.,  Handlyng  Synne  ;  Hav.,  Havelok ;  K.  A.,  King 
Alisaunder  ;  O.  and  N.,  Owl  and  Nightingale;  O.  E.  Horn.,  Old 
English  Homilies  ;  R.  R.,  Richard  the  Redeles. 

after  a  storm,  a  calm,  182. 
after  heat  comes  cold,  145. 
after  sorrow,  joy  {P.  PI.,  B.  18. 

407),  154,  225. 
after  woe,  joy,  154,  225. 
almsgiving  quenches  sin,  3. 
anger  is  a  short  madness,  21. 
apple    that's    red    may    be    bad 

inside  {Alf.  306),  284. 
as  fain  as  a  fowl  of  a  fair  day,  223. 
as  just  as  a  squire,  274. 
as  sound  as  a  trout,  47. 
as  water  quenches  fire,  &c,,  3. 

bark  little,  and  bite  most,  43. 

bear  the  bell,  to,  173. 

beat  the  dog  before  the  lion,  280. 

beginning  and  ending,  46. 

beginning,  everything  has  a,  163. 

(the)  beguiler  shall  be  beguiled 
(P.  PL,  B.  ID.  190,  C.  21.  166, 
385),  237. 

believe  as  you  list,  6. 

bend  Robin  Hood's  bow,  165. 

better  a  child  unborn  than  un- 
taught, 42. 

better  a  sore  eye  than  blind,  71. 

better  an  apple  given  than  eaten, 

better  bend  than  break,  149. 
better  death  than  shameful  life, 


SKEAT.     E.  E.  P. 

better  is  art  than  strength,  8. 

better  late  than  never,  287. 

better  little  with  ease,  65, 

better  soon  than  late,  27. 

bitter  medicine,  183. 

blind  Bayard,  as  bold  as,  288. 

blind  buzzard,  in. 

blind  man  is  no  judge  of  colours, 

(as  a)  blind  man  starts  a  hare, 

bliss  yields  to  sorrow,  193. 
boaster  is  a  liar,  a,  175. 
(as  you)  brew,  so  drink,  123. 
burnt  child  fears  fire  (//.  24,   C. 

M.  7223),  286. 

(he)  cared  not  a  cress  (P.  PL,  B. 

10.  17,  C.  A.  3.  588),  227. 
(the)   cat  catches  mice  like  her 

mother,  41. 
cat  in  the  pan,  298. 
cat  that  loves  fish  (C.  A.  4. 1108), 

chalk  for  cheese,  130. 
charity  begins  at  home,  299. 
chastity  without  charity,  106. 
cheaply  bought,  poorly  sold,  88. 
child  ;  see  good, 
chips  fall  in  his  eye,  132. 
cipher  in  arithmetic,  126. 




(the)   cock   crows    on    his   own 

dunghill,  23. 
colt's  tooth,  a,  229. 
companions  in  misery,  152. 
consolation  in  misery  is  to  have 

companions,  152. 
counsel  better  than  strength  (O. 

and  N.  762,  Alf.  641),  195. 
courteous  as  a  dog,  109. 
covered  fire,  162. 
cowardly  to  fly  a  falcon  at  every 

fly,  102. 
cripple ;  see  halt, 
curses  come  home,  293  ;  cf.  37. 
cut  large  thongs,  86. 

dark  night,  glad  morrow,  154. 
(some)  day  a  strange  thing  hap- 
pens, 22t. 
dead  as  a  doornail,  105. 
dearly  bought  honey,  89. 
death  is  better  than  shameful  life, 

deceit,    tears,   and   spinning   are 

womanly,  267. 
delay  does  harm,  52. 
delays  are  dangerous  {Hav.  I352\ 

different  countries,  different  laws 

iH.  4),  158. 
dog  ;  see  beat, 
dog  in  a  kitchen,  109. 
dogs  in  a  poke,  301. 
dbgs  that  bark  little  bite  most,  43. 
drink  less,  and  go  early  home,  94. 
drink  with  the  duck,  107. 
drops  of  water  wear  away  stone, 

drunk  as  a  mouse,  214. 
drunkenness  reveals  secrets   (C. 

^•.7229),  244. 
Dun  in  the  mire,  289. 

-each  country  has  its  laws  {H.  4) 

each  man  for  himself,  213. 
embrace   much   and    hold   little, 

146;  cf.  5. 
empty  hand  lures  no  hawk,  235. 
end,  everything  has  an,  224. 
end  of  bliss  is  sorrow,  193. 
every  goose  has  a  mate,  264. 
every  man's  doom  returns  to  his 

door,  37. 
everything  has  a  beginning,  163. 
everything  has  its  price,  268. 
everything  is  discerned  by  trial, 

evil  against  one's  will,  to  do,  7. 
evil  communications,  31. 
evil  life  has  evil  end,  59. 
evil  to  him  who  deserves  evil  (O. 

E.  Horn.  i.  41),  247. 
evils  come  not  singly,  60, 
eye  ;  see  herb, 
eye  is  ever  turned  to  the  grove, 

eyes  that  are  troubled  cannot  see 

well,  252. 

(as)    fain    as   a  bird   of  the  sun 

{P.  PI.  B.  10.  153),  223. 
\&)  fair,  this  world  is  (C.  A.  prol. 

454),  205. 
false  friends,  20. 
falsehoods    of    an    enemy,    men 

speak,  12. 
familiarity  breeds  contempt,  251. 
far  from  eye,  far  from  heart  (H. 

27,  Alf.  B.  554),  226. 
farewell,  fieldfare  !  [P.  PI.  B.  i  r. 

41),  180. 
farewell  to  last  year's  snow,  203. 
fat  lands  grow  weeds,  120. 
father  to  the  young,  9. 
field  hath  eyes,  and  a  wood,  ears, 

figs  from  a  thorn,  118. 
fire  and    pride,    none   can   hide, 

fire  and  tow  {H.  S.  7924),  262. 



fire,    if    covered,    grows   hotter, 

fire,  to  add  fuel  to,  170. 
fire,  to  cast  gruel  in  the,  177. 
fire,    to    cast   the   crock   in   the 

(/?.  R.  ii.  51),  177. 
fire,  to  fetch,  202. 
first  come,  first  served,  266. 
fish  without  water,  191,  211. 
flatterers,  11. 
flatterers  are  false,  97, 
fool  cannot  be  silent,  139. 
fool  who  forgets  himself,  201. 
fool's  bolt  is  soon  shot  {^il/.  A. 

421,  H.  St.  11),  139. 
fool's  intentions  often  fail  {Hav 

307,  Br.  i.  582),  148. 
fools  may  advise  the  wise,  150. 
force  against  force,  230. 
forgets  himself,  he  who,  is  a  fool, 

fortune  favours  the  bold  (C  A.  7. 

4902),  189. 
(a)  foul  bird  defiles  its  own  nest, 

(one  of)  foul  brood  remains  so, 

Friday  is  unlike  other  days,  219. 
friendless  is  the  dead  man,  93. 
friends  are  lost  in  adversity,  254. 
(to)  fry  in  his  own  grease,  269. 
fuel  added  to  fire,  258. 

galled  horse  winces,  the,  297. 
give  a  child  all  he  asks,  98. 
give  soon,  and  give  twice,  210. 
glad  morrow  after  a  dark  night, 

glass    head   must    avoid    stones, 

(all  that)  glitters  is  not  gold,  206. 
God's  will  be  done,  15. 
good  beginning  makes  good  end, 

good  child  is  soon  taught  (//.  5, 

9,  P.  PI.  B.  5.  38),  245. 

goose  ;  see  every, 
grapes  from  a  briar,  118. 
great  tree,  great  fall,  172. 
greater  sinner,  greater  saint,  156. 
greatest    clerks    not    the    wisest 

men,  233. 
greedy  is  the  poor  man,  76. 
guile  for  guile  {P.  PI.  B,  10.  190, 

C.  21.  166,  385),  237. 

halt  before  a  cripple,  to,  196. 
hard  to  row  against  the  stream, 


hare  and  tabor,  124. 

hare,  mad  as  a,  272. 

harp  on  one  string,  to,  167.   — • 

haste  ;  see  judge. 

haste  brings  repentance  {K.  A. 
462,  H.  32,  33),  155. 

(he)  hastes  well,  who  wisely 
waits,  155. 

hawk  easily  reclaimed,  44. 

hawk,  not  lured  with  empty 
hand,  235. 

he  is  free  of  his  horse,  87. 

he  that  grasps  at  too  much,  5  ; 
cf.  X46. 

he  that  has  no  servant,  232. 

he  that  hews  too  high,  132. 

he  that  is  untrue  shall  rue,  66. 

he  that  learns  young,  &c.,  69. 

he  that  speaks  well  fights  well,  34. 

he  that  stretches  beyond  the  blan- 
ket, 122. 

he  that  will  not  when  he  may, 

he  who  builds  his  house  of  sal- 
lows, &c.,  271. 

he  who  does  evil  must  not  expect 
good,  236. 

he  who  gives  me  little,  &c.,  80. 

he  who  sups  with  the  devil,  &c., 

he  who  will  not  take  warning 
from  others,  &c.  {K.  A.  3029, 
3039),  263;  cf.  176. 



heads  ;  see  so  many, 
helpfulness  brings  success,  51. 
herb  applied  to  the  eye,  207. 
(the)  higher  the  hill,  the  more  the 

wind,  23. 
himself,  each  man  for,  213. 
honey  licked  from  the  thorn,  89. 
honey,  surfeit  of,  250. 
honey  with  gall,  255. 
hook  or  by  crook,  by,  300. 
hope  deludes  fools,  48. 
hope  of  a  long  life,  95. 
horse  ;  see  one  may,  &c. 
horse  winces   when    rubbed   on 

the  gall,  297. 
hunger  is  the  best  sauce,  127. 

dleness,  13. 

f  you  see  him  first,  his  strength 

is  gone,  35. 
11-spun  web  soon  comes  out,  91. 
ron  is  hot,  when  the,  169. 

udge  in  haste,  and  soon  repent, 

keeping  is  harder  than  winning, 

kick  against  the  pricks,  do   not, 


lamp  unlighted,  106. 

lands ;  see  many. 

late  ;  see  too  late. 

law-givers  must  not  break  laws, 

let  desire  pass  away,  70. 
let  well  alone,  144. 
life  and  death  in  the  tongue,  17. 
life  short,  art  long,  135. 
light  as  a  linden-leaf  (P.  PI.  B.  i. 

154),  276. 
light  impressions  soon  fade,  i68. 
lightly  come,  lightly  spent,  261. 

lion  admonished  by  dog,  280. 
(a)  little  stone  can  upset  a  wain, 

little  strife  makes  much  rest  (O. 

and  N.  295),  290. 
long  spoon  ;  see  he  who  sups. 
(to)  look  like  a  lantern,  no. 
lose  part,  to  save  the  rest,  194. 
love  and  lordship  will  have   no 

rivals,  220. 
love  cannot  be  hid,  45. 
love  is  blind.  278. 
love  is  full  of  fear,  200. 
love's  remedy  is  to  llee,  136. 

mad  as  a  hare,  272. 

make  a  rod  for  your  own  back, 

Malkin's  maidenhood,  104. 
man  proposes,  113. 
many  a  man  sings,  &c.,  78. 
many,  for  wealth,  wive  amiss,  92. 
many  lands,  many  customs,  158. 
many  littles  make  a  mickJe  (A.  R. 

54,  296,  H.  S.  2366),  292. 
measure  is  treasure,  25. 
men  meet  unexpectedly,  217, 
(to)  mend  himself,  rii. 
-mercy  surpasses  justice,  184. 
misfortune  makes  foes  of  friends, 

more  haste,  worse  speed  (K.  A. 

462,  H.  32,  33),  155. 
more  stars  than  two,  140. 
(a  poor)  mouse  who  has  but  one 

hole,  270. 
murder  will   out   (C.  M.    1083), 


naked  as  a  needle,  116. 

nearer   to   church,    farther   from 

God,  TOO. 
necessity ;  see  virtue, 
need  has  no  peer  {P.  PI.  B.  20. 

ID,  C.  14.  45),  231. 
nettle  in,  dock  out,  187. 

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